Hicks Named CAC Player of the Year, Witman Picks up Fourth Coach of the Year Award
YORK, PA – The Capital Athletic Conference York College women's basketball team had four members honored by the league as the 2013-14 all-conference accolades were announced by the conference office Monday morning.
Senior Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) was named the CAC Player of the Year. Head coach Betsy Witman was named the CAC Coach of the Year while Hicks and Kristen Haley (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Visitation) were named to the first team. Senior point guard Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough) was named to the second team.
The Spartans capped a fantastic regular season with a 23-2 mark as they captured the regular season championship for the second time in school history. York then dispatched Marymount in the semifinals and defeated second seeded Christopher Newport 66-53 in the championship game for the title. It is the second tournament championship for the Spartans.
Hicks becomes the Spartans third conference player of the year recipient. Guard Heather Kessler earned the accolades after the 2003-04 season and Keli Ward after the 2008-09 season.
Hicks has been fantastic for the Spartans all year long. She enters the NCAA Tournament averaging 16.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Hicks is shooting 51.1% from the floor in 28.9 minutes per game. Hicks has hit 13-of-33 (39.4%) from three while she has converted 77.7% (146-of-188) from the free throw line. Hicks has handed out 33 assists, blocked 16 shots and collected 24 steals in her 27 games played.
"There is no question Brit was the best player in our league," says Witman. "Her ability to take over games is impressive. She is a complete player who just competes so hard. It is great to see her earn the Player of the Year award."
Hicks recently crossed 1,500 career points and now ranks fifth on the all-time scoring list with 1,535 points. She has a school-record 40 career double-doubles including 13 this season. Hicks is second in the CAC in scoring, second in rebounding, first in free throw attempts, second in free throws made, fourth in field goals made, third in field goal percentage, and 11th in minutes played per game.
Haley makes her fourth appearance on the All-CAC squad. She was the CAC Rookie of the Year in 2011 along with being a second team selection. Haley was a second team pick as a sophomore and was a first team honoree last year. Haley is second on the scoring and rebounding at 13.8 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game. She has blocked a team-leading 40 shots while she is shooting 49% from the floor, 31% (20-for-64) from three, and 70.6% (60-for-85) from the free throw line. Haley has dished out 26 assists and collected 23 steals in her 27 games played.
"Kristen has been such a steady player for the last four years," says Witman. "She is such a force inside and provides us with consistent leadership. I am happy to see her earn all-conference honors in all four years of her career."
Haley eclipsed the 1,500 career points plateau in the semifinal win over Marymount and now sits behind Hicks and Ward in seventh place at 1,517 points. She has played in a school-record 113 games, tying her with fellow senior Kelsey Murphy (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) for that honor. Haley holds the career record for blocked shots with 179 and is fourth on the all-time rebounding list with 872 caroms. Haley is 11th in the league in scoring, eight in rebounding and first in the league in blocked shots.
Wallpher is making her third appearance on the All-CAC squad as she was a first teamer in 2012, a second teamer as a junior and a second teamer again this season. Wallpher is averaging 5.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and a team 6.6 assists per game. She has five double-digit assist games for the year including a season-high 12 twice. Wallpher leads the team with 2.6 steals per game, ranking her fourth in the CAC.
"Aja is what makes this team go," says Witman. "When she is on her game, we are incredibly difficult to defend. She has a great knack for setting up her teammates in great positions to score."
Wallpher is the Spartans' all-time leader in assists with 711 as she is closing in the Capital Athletic Conference record as she is 21 away from establishing a new conference record. She owns the Spartans' career steals record at 378 as she has played in and started 111 games in her career. Wallpher has averaged 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in her career.
The Coach of the Year award is the fourth for Witman as she enters the NCAA Tournament with a mark of 295-192 in her 17th year at the helm of the program. Witman was honored with the Coach of the Year award in 2002, 2009, and 2011.
Witman and the Spartans will find out who and where they will play in the NCAA Tournament on Monday afternoon when the NCAA announces the tournament parings.