CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Mid-American Conference announced the 2012-13 regular-season award winners on the eve of the 2013 FirstEnergy MAC Women’s Basketball Tournament moving into the Q. Coaches and media members voted Akron’s Rachel Tecca the 2012-13 Player of the Year, Toledo’s Tricia Cullop the Coach of the Year, and Nathalie Fontaine the Freshman of the Year. In addition the head coaches of the MAC voted Toledo’s Andola Dortch the Defensive Player of the Year and Ball State’s Shanee’ Jackson received the Sixth Man Award.
Rachel Tecca edged out Central Michigan’s Crystal Bradford, Miami’s Courtney Osborn and Toledo’s Naama Shafir as the top vote getter to bring the Player of the Year award to Akron for the first time in school history. Tecca led the Mid-American Conference in scoring this season with 19.4 points per game over the season and in conference play. The leading scorer in the conference was one of the most efficient as well, finishing third in the conference in field goal percentage at .554. Tecca also brought in 214 rebounds for the Zips ranking her fifth in the conference. Along, with the honor being the first for Akron in the school’s history, Tecca’s contributions helped the Zips win the first MAC East title in the programs history as well.
For the third time in five years, Toledo’s Tricia Cullop has been named the 2012-13 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year. Cullop led the Rockets to a league best 15-1 MAC record and currently have the Rockets 27-2 overall as the No. 1 seed for the 2013 FirstEnergy MAC Tournament. Along with the No. 1 seed, Cullop has built a team that was ranked 25th in the Associated Press Top-25 Poll last week. This season marks the first time that the Rockets have been ranked under Cullop, and the first time for the program since 2001. Coach Cullop joins former Bowling Green Head Coach Curt Miller and predecessor Mark Ehlen, as the only MAC Coaches to win the Coach of the Year award three times.
The second half turnaround of Ball State has garnered Nathalie Fontaine the 2012-13 Freshman of the Year award following a 2-10 non-conference start to the season. Fontaine started every game for the Cardinals, leading them to a 12-4 MAC record and the No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament. Fontaine led the Cardinals in rebounding with 6.4 rpg, while averaging more than 2.0 ppg better than the next Ball State player. Like Tecca for Akron, this is the first time in the program’s history that the award has gone to a Ball State Cardinal since its induction in 1983.
As a junior, Toledo’s Andola Dortch earns her second consecutive MAC Defensive Player of the Year Award. Dortch spearheaded a Rockets defense that allowed only 51.0 points per game to lead the MAC which helped translate into a league best +15.3 scoring margin on the season. Individually, Dortch led the conference with 77 steals, with more than half coming during MAC play. Dortch becomes the fourth player in MAC history to repeat as the Defensive Player of the Year, and will look to become only the second to win it next year when she returns for her senior season.
Finally, Ball State’s Shanee’ Jackson was voted the 2012-13 Sixth Man Award winner for her contributions off the bench for the Cardinals this year. Jackson played in all 29 games for the Cardinals this season averaging 7.2 points per game off the bench along with 4.3 rebounds per contest. Jackson joins former Cardinal Emily Maggert as Sixth Man Award winners from Ball State, with Maggert earning the award in 2008.
Each of the individual award winners can be seen in Cleveland this week as all three teams have qualified for with byes in the tournament. For complete coverage of the 2013 FirstEnergy MAC Women’s Basketball Tournament visit the championship page at mac-sports.com.
2012-13 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year
Rachel Tecca, Akron, Forward
2012-13 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year
Tricia Cullop, Toledo
2012-13 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year
Nathalie Fontaine, Ball State, Guard
2012-13 Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year
Andola Dortch, Toledo, Guard
2012-13 Mid-American Conference Sixth Man Award
Shanee' Jackson, Ball State, Guard