Saint Mary's duo headlines 2013-14 MIAC Women's Basketball Awards

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Saint Mary's women's basketball headlined a tremendous season on the court in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) with their first regular-season conference championship since 1985-86. As a result of their success, the Cardinals claimed two of the three top individual honors Thursday when the league announced the 2013-14 MIAC Women's Basketball Awards.

Saint Mary's star forward Courtney Euerle capped her tremendous senior season with the MIAC Player-of-the-Year award. Her head coach, Mandy Pearson, was voted the MIAC Coach-of-the-Year by her peers for the second-straight season for her role in the Cardinals' championship. And runner-up Concordia also claimed one of the MIAC's individual honors, as senior center Kelsey Walloch was named the conference's Sixth Player-of-the-Year.

In addition to the top individual honors, the MIAC also announced the MIAC All-Conference, All-Defensive, All-First-Year and All-Conference Honorable Mention teams, and it recognized the Women's Basketball All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team.

Euerle and Pearson were both honored largely for their roles in Saint Mary's milestone season. The Cardinals went 20-2 in conference play to capture the regular-season title, and finished as the runner-up in the MIAC Playoffs. They received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, and will enter the tourney with a 24-3 overall record. SMU will face UW-Oshkosh Friday in Oshkosh, Wis., to open national tournament play.

Euerle's all-around excellence in the paint led to her MIAC Player-of-the-Year honor, as well as her All-MIAC selection and third-straight All-Defensive Team honor. She was an All-Conference Honorable Mention selection a year ago. Euerle averaged 13.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 50.3 percent from the floor and 72.8 percent from the free-throw line in overall games.

In conference play, she led Saint Mary's to the MIAC title while averaging 12.9 points per game (ppg), 7.5 rebounds per game (rpg) while shooting 48.9 percent from the floor and 74.3 percent from the line. Euerle ranked third in the conference in field goals (116), fifth in three-throw percentage, sixth in defensive rebounds (124), seventh in blocked shots (27) and eighth in total rebounds (166) and rpg in MIAC contests.

Pearson received her second-straight Coach-of-the-Year award, also earned back-to-back MIAC Player-of-the-Year honors during her playing days at Concordia, and is believed to be the first to win both honors in consecutive seasons. This season, she coached the Cardinals to the conference title, as well as the MIAC Player-of-the-year, two All-Conference selections, two All-Defensive Team picks, two All-First-Year honorees and two All-Conference Honorable Mention selections.

In conference play, Saint Mary's has the league's third-best offense with an average of 68.0 ppg, and the second-ranked defense, as the Cardinals allowed just 57.5 ppg. SMU ranked No. 3 in the MIAC in field-goal percentage (41.3), 3-point percentage (34.8) and steals per game (8.9) and fourth in rebounds (39.8) and assists (13.5) per game and free-throw percentage (72.4).

Walloch was honored with the league's top award for reserves thanks to her contributions to another outstanding season for the Cobbers. Concordia finished 19-3 and tied for second in MIAC play, and 21-5 overall. The Cobbers received their second-straight at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they will open against UW-Whitewater Friday at 5:30 p.m. in St. Paul, Minn., at a four-team regional hosted by MIAC rival St. Thomas.

This season, Walloch was a valuable contributor off the Concordia bench, averaging 7.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 57.9 percent from the floor and an even 70 percent from the line. She was even better in MIAC play, averaging 7.4 points and 4.7 boards per game, with a 58.1 field goal percentage and a 71.4 mark from the line. She averaged 17.2 minutes per game in conference play, and her points per 40 minutes average was 17.1.

St. Thomas senior Taylor Young joined Euerle in headlining the All-Conference team to cap a tremendous career. Young received All-MIAC honors in each of her four seasons starring for the Tommies. Fellow UST senior Maggie Weiers received her second All-Conference honor, after also receiving the award in 2011-12, and Bethel's Rachel Parupsky and Hamline's Jordan Sammons both earned their second-straight All-MIAC selection.

Euerle and St. Thomas' Kelly Brandenburg headlined the All-Defensive Team, with each earning their third-straight such honor. Parupsky was a repeat selection on the All-Defensive Team as well, and Euerle, Parupsky, Concordia's Alexandra Lippert and Saint Mary's Bridget Pethke all received both All-Conference and All-Defensive honors. Standout Bethel rookie Kalli Zimmerman was named to both the All-Conference and All-First-Year Teams for her breakout season.

The conference's top six teams - Saint Mary's, Concordia, St. Thomas, Bethel, St. Olaf and Gustavus - all had two players apiece named to the All-Conference team. Players from Augsburg, Hamline and Saint Benedict claimed the other three All-MIAC spots. The All-Conference team featured eight seniors, two juniors, four sophomores and one first-year player.

As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC also announced the eighth annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for women's basketball. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition.


2013-14 MIAC Women's Basketball Awards

Player-of-the-Year - Courtney Euerle, Saint Mary's (Sr., Forward, Litchfield, Minn.) 
Sixth Player-of-the-Year - Kelsey Walloch, Concordia (Sr., Center, Lesterville, S.D./Menno)  
Coach-of-the-Year - Mandy Pearson, Saint Mary's (Seventh season)


2013-14 MIAC Women's Basketball All-Conference Team

Name Team Year    Position Hometown/Previous School
Kim Cerjan  St. Olaf  So.  Guard  Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty   
Morgan Dale  Saint Benedict    Sr.  Forward    Jamestown, N.D. 
Julia Dysthe  Gustavus  Sr.  Guard  White Bear Lake, Minn. 
Courtney Euerle  Saint Mary's  Sr.  Forward  Litchfield, Minn. 
Alley Fisher  Concordia Jr.  Guard  Fargo, N.D./South 
Alexandra Lippert Concordia Sr.  Center  Willmar, Minn. 
Rachel Parupsky Bethel  So.  Center  Arden Hills, Minn./Mounds View 
Bridget Pethke Saint Mary's So.  Guard  New London, Wis. 
Elise Raney St. Olaf  Sr.  Center  Eagan, Minn. 
Jordan Sammons Hamline  Jr.  Guard  Burnsville, Minn./Apple Valley 
Karina Schroeder Gustavus  So.  Post  Lake Crystal, Minn. 
Jill Tichy Augsburg  Sr.  Guard  Excelsior, Minn./Minnetonka 
Maggie Weiers  St. Thomas  Sr.  Center  New Prague, Minn. 
Taylor Young 
St. Thomas  Sr.  Forward  Edina, Minn. 
Kalli Zimmermann    Bethel  Fy.  Forward  Champlin, Minn./Park 

2013-14 MIAC Women's Basketball All-Defensive Team

Name Team Year    Position Hometown/Previous School
Kelly Brandenburg    St. Thomas  Sr.  Guard  Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior 
Courtney Euerle  Saint Mary's  Sr.  Forward    Litchfield, Minn.
Alexandra Lippert  Concordia  Sr.  Center  Willmar, Minn. 
Rachel Parupsky Bethel  So.  Center  Arden Hills, Minn./Mounds View   
Bridget Pethke  Saint Mary's    So.  Guard  New London, Wis. 

2013-14 MIAC Women's Basketball All-First-Year Team

Name Team Year    Position Hometown/Previous School
Mariam Awoniyi  Saint Mary's Fy.  Forward     Country Club Hills, Ill./Hillcrest   
LaShay Holt  St. Catherine    Fy.  Guard  Minneapolis, Minn./Humboldt 
Emma Schaefer Saint Mary's Fy.  Guard  Country Club Hills, Ill./Hillcrest 
Greta Walsh  Concordia  Fy.  Guard  Litchfield, Minn.  
Kalli Zimmermann   
Bethel   Fy.  Forward  Champlin, Minn./Park 

2013-14 MIAC Women's Basketball All-Conference Honorable Mention

Name Team Year    Position Hometown/Previous School
Shelby Auseth Saint Mary's So.  Forward    Wanamingo, Minn./Kenyon-Wanamingo    
Brianna Barrett Saint Benedict    Sr.  Wing  Annandale, Minn. 
Kelly Brandenburg    St. Thomas  Sr.  Guard  Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior
LaShay Holt
St. Catherine
Fy.  Guard  Minneapolis, Minn./Humboldt 
Olivia Johnson
Concordia
So.  Forward Walcott, N.D./Richland 
Mattie Lueck Saint Benedict So. Forward  Pequot Lakes, Minn. 
Erin Murray Macalester So.  Guard  Sparta, Wis. 
Jenny Ramey Carleton Sr.  Guard  Cottage Grove, Minn./New Life Academy 
Darcey Rice Saint Mary's Sr.  Guard  St. Paul, Minn./Eastview 
Skylar Tsutsui Carleton Jr.  Guard  Northridge, Cal./Harvard-Westlake 

2013-14 Women's Basketball All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team

Augsburg - Carly Wolf (Sr., Chaska, Minn.) 
Bethel - Katelyn Vavra (Sr., Askov, Minn./East Central)
Carleton - Emma Purfeest (Sr., River Falls, Wis.)
Concordia - Erin Januschka (Jr., St. Cloud, Minn./Cathedral)
Gustavus - Rachelle Blaschko (Sr., Henderson, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson)
Hamline - Rachel Usgaard (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn./West Lutheran)
Macalester - Kathryn Medinger (Sr., Sitka, Alaska)
Saint Benedict - Morgan Dale (Sr., Jamestown, N.D.) 
St. Catherine - Kristen Lee (Sr., Dawson, Minn./Dawson-Boyd)
Saint Mary's - Darcey Rice (Sr., St. Paul, Minn./Eastview)
St. Olaf - Brittany Webber (Sr., St. Louis Park, Minn./Lion's Gate Academy)
St. Thomas - Kelly Brandenburg (Sr., Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior)


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