Irvin Earns All-Conference Honors
March 5, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - TCU sophomore forward Sandora Irvin was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, in addition to earning second team all-conference honors on Wednesday evening. A ceremony was held at the Convention Center in Memphis, Tenn., site of the 2003 Conference USA Tournament.
Charlotte head coach Katie Meier was named Coach of the Year after leading the 49ers to the conference's regular season title. It marked the first conference title for the Niners since 1990, when they were Co-Sun Belt Conference champions. This season, Charlotte recorded its best record ever in C-USA play with a 12-2 mark and have also notched the most wins in a season since 1992, when the Niners went 20-8. The Niners have now won three straight and nine of their last 11 games overall.
Houston junior Chandi Jones became only the second player in C-USA history to be recognized as Player of the Year in consecutive seasons, joining Memphis' Tamika Whitmore, who earned Player of the Year honors in 1998 and 1999. Jones leads the nation in scoring with 27.5 points per game and ranks 14th in steals (3.37 pg). She is currently only 20 points away from becoming Houston's all-time scoring leader and ranks fifth on C-USA's all-time scoring list with 1,938 points. She is also only 62 points away from moving into the top 3 of the nation's fastest to reach the 2,000-point plateau. She closed out the regular season notching a league-high 14 30-plus-point performances and 12 double-doubles.
Joining Jones on the first team are a trio of Cincinnati players, senior K.B. Sharp, junior Valerie King and sophomore Debbie Merrill, as well as Louisville senior point guard Sara Nord.
In addition to Irvin, the All-Conference second team includes: Charlotte junior guard Peaches Harris, DePaul sophomore guard Jenni Dant, senior center Teana McKiver and senior forward Gwen Slaughter of Tulane.
Named to the All-Conference third team were three forwards, senior Alicia Abernathy of Charlotte, freshman Khara Smith of DePaul and junior Natasha Thomas of UAB, along with a pair of senior centers in Louisville's Lori Nero and Shannon Hamp of Memphis, as well as East Carolina sophomore guard Jennifer Jackson.
DePaul's Khara Smith was named Freshman of the Year, after leading all freshmen in scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 pg). Joining Smith on the All-Freshman team is Marquette's Carolyn Kieger and the Charlotte trio of Pam Brown, Sakellie Daniels, Andrea Davidson.
The league's Sixth Player of the Year award went to Charlotte's Peaches Harris, while Defensive Player of the Year honors were given to TCU's Sandora Irvin. Harris averaged 14.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game off then bench for the Niners, while Irvin led the league and ranked second in the nation with 4.11 blocks per game, while helping the Horned Frogs limit their opponents to a 36.3 shooting percentage.
Six of the 16 players that earned all-conference recognition were seniors. A total of five honorees were underclassmen. Cincinnati had the most overall selections with three, while Charlotte, DePaul, Louisville, TCU and Tulane each had two.
Conference USA award winners were selected by a panel including the league's head coaches, sports information directors and media representatives.
2003 CONFERENCE USA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL AWARD WINNERS
Coach of the Year
Player of the Year
Freshman of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Sixth Player of the Year