2011-12 All-Little East Women's Basketball Teams Announced

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The Little East Conference office announced its annual women's basketball major award winners and all-conference teams this afternoon after a vote by the league's eight coaches. University of Southern Maine senior center Courtney Cochran (Waite, Maine) was named as the Player of the Year, while University of Massachusetts Boston freshman Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) was chosen as the Rookie of the Year. Rhode Island College senior guard Cynthia Gaudet (Coventry, R.I.) was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year, and Marcus Reilly was tabbed as the Coach of the Year by his colleagues. Eastern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University shared the Team Sportsmanship Award to close out the major awards program.

In addition to the major awards program, the Little East women's basketball coaches honored 11 student-athletes on its all-conference teams. The All-Little East teams are comprised of six members on the top team, and five student-athletes represented on the second squad. The coaches also elected five-member All-Defensive and All-Rookie teams.

Cochran is the seventh Huskies women's basketball player to garner the conference's top award, and first since Ashley Marble was honored in three consecutive campaigns (2005-2007). The senior center from Waite, Maine is making her second straight appearance on the All-Little East first-team. Cochran became the 20th player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-career point mark, earning the milestone against Plymouth State on Feb. 14, 2012. She currently ranks among the Division III leaders in double-doubles (22nd, 14), rebounds per game (31st, 11.0), and points per game (43rd, 17.9). Cochran helped Southern Maine sport the conference's top-ranked scoring offense (70.9 ppg) by leading the circuit in scoring and free throw percentage (80.2). A starter in each of her 26 appearances, she reached double figures in scoring in 23 games, while recording at least 20 points nine times. Cochran poured in a season-high 34 points, on 13-for-19 from the floor, at Little East rival Western Connecticut on Dec. 10, 2011. She pulled in a season-best 18 rebounds twice on the campaign, most recently at Salem State on Dec. 6, 2012. Cochran was honored as the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Player of the Week for the week ending Dec. 11, 2011.

Gaudet is the first Anchorwoman to be selected as the top defensive player in the conference since the Little East began sponsoring the award in 2009. In addition to her major award, Gaudet is also making her debut on the All-Little East first team and All-Defensive team. Her intensity on the defensive end of the court enabled Rhode Island College to feature one of the most stifling defensive attacks in the country, ranking among the national leaders in field goal percentage defense (12th, 31.5), scoring margin ( 13th, +18.0 ppg), and scoring defense (23rd, 50.5). Gaudet sits atop the conference circuit in steals (3.3 spg), while ranking 30th in Division III. A starter in each of her 27 contests, Gaudet recorded a team-best 89 steals, including forcing multiple turnovers in 23 games. She registered a season-high six steals five times on the campaign, including against three 2012 NCAA tournament participants. Gaudet collected a season-best seven rebounds against Salve Regina on Dec. 6, 2011. She also paced the Anchorwomen offense, leading the squad in assists (4.2 apg) and scoring (15.8 ppg).

Morrison is just the third Beacon to be chosen as the top rookie in the conference and first since Linda Caruso was honored in 1994. The North Reading, Mass. product is the lone first-year to earn a spot on the 11-member All-Little East teams, garnering second team accolades. A force in the low blocks, Morrison ranked among the conference leaders in scoring (2nd, 16.5 ppg), rebounding (3rd, 10.1 rpg), blocked shots (3rd, 1.6 bpg), and minutes played (7th, 32.0). She was nationally honored by D3Hoops.com on its Team of the Week after averaging 21.7 points and 10 rebounds for the week ending Feb. 19, 2012. Morrison broke into the UMass Boston starting lineup three games into the regular-season and made a major impact. A starter in 22 appearances, she reached double digits in scoring 21 times, including at least 20 points eight times. Morrison poured in a season-high 31 points at Eastern Connecticut on Jan. 14, 2012, while collecting a season-best 16 caroms at Plymouth State on Feb. 11. She also patrolled the paint for the Beacons, registering a total of 39 blocks. Morrison was selected as the conference's top rookie performer in six of the 12 times the award was presented. She was also named the 2011 Little East Volleyball Rookie of the Year.

Reilly is just the second Rhode Island College manager to be selected as the Little East Coach of the Year, joining his predecessor, Spencer Manning (2004), among the conference's major award winners. Under his watchful eye, Reilly and his Anchorwomen established a new standard for single-season victories (24), putting an additional four wins between the previous record holders (1998, 2011 squads). Rhode Island College also boasted the program's longest winning-streak this winter, recording 17 consecutive victories between Dec. 3, 2011 and Feb. 7, 2012. The Anchorwomen clinched the program's first Little East regular-season title, and earned the right to host the semifinal and championship rounds of the Little East Women's Basketball Championship at The Murray Center. Rhode Island College defeated Western Connecticut and Southern Maine to capture its first conference tournament title and extend its unbeaten streak at The Murray Center to 19 games, which dated back to Jan. 20, 2011. The Anchorwomen will be making their third appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament and first since 1985. Rhode Island College also earned the right to host a four-team pod during the first and second rounds, beginning with Baruch College at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 2.

Formed in 1986, the Little East serves as New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. Featuring 19 championship sports, the Little East sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes. Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship, and citizenship.

2011-12 Little East Women's Basketball All-Conference Teams
First Team
Courtney Cirillo Senior Forward Keene State College
Courtney Cochran Senior Center Southern Maine
Cynthia Gaudet Senior Guard Rhode Island College
Haley Jordan Junior Forward Southern Maine
Rachel Riley Senior Forward Rhode Island College
Stephanie Slonski Senior Guard Western Connecticut
Second Team
Erika Bornemann Sophomore Forward UMass Dartmouth
Stephanie Coro Senior  Guard Rhode Island College
Nicole Garland Senior Guard Southern Maine
Colleen Moriarty Junior Forward UMass Dartmouth
Kirsten Morrison Freshman Center UMass Boston
All-Defensive Team
Cynthia Gaudet Senior Guard Rhode Island College
Taylor McBride Freshman Guard Eastern Connecticut
Renee Nicholas Senior Guard Southern Maine
Kim Rivet Senior Guard Southern Maine
Stephanie Slonski Senior Guard Western Connecticut
All-Rookie Team
Caroline Brasa Freshman Guard Western Connecticut
Kristina Forsman Freshman Guard Eastern Connecticut
Kelsey Garrity Freshman Guard UMass Dartmouth
Shannon McCourt Freshman Forward Eastern Connecticut
Kirsten Morrison Freshman Center UMass Boston
Player of the Year
Courtney Cochran Senior Center Southern Maine
Defensive Player of the Year
Cynthia Gaudet Senior Guard Rhode Island College
Rookie of the Year
Kirsten Morrison Freshman Center UMass Boston
Coach of the Year
Marcus Reilly, Rhode Island College
Co-Team Sportsmanship Awards
Eastern Connecticut State University
Western Connecticut State University