Terps' Thomas, Frese receive conference awards

March 08, 2013|From Sun staff reports

Maryland junior Alyssa Thomas was named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year by the Blue Ribbon Panel for the second straight season Thursday, and the Terps' Brenda Frese was voted ACC Coach of the Year by the league's head coaches.

Thomas is the first women's player in school history to be named Player of the Year twice.

Frese received her honor for the first time in her 11 seasons at Maryland.

Duke's Joanne P. McCallie was named ACC Coach of the Year by the Blue Ribbon Panel, which is composed of media members and representatives from each school, as well as some national media members. The Blue Devils' Chelsea Gray was voted ACC Player of the Year by the league's head coaches.

Frese, the 2002 Associated Press National Coach of the Year, led the Terps to the No. 2 seed in this weekend's ACC tournament and a record of 23-6 overall and 14-4 in ACC play despite season-ending injuries to starting guards Brene Moseley and Laurin Mincy, as well as to center Essence Townsend in the fall. As the season wore on, Maryland lost freshman Tierney Pfirman to a dislocated kneecap and played a stretch with seven available players.

"Coach Frese continues to validate her system and success by finding ways to win through adversity without excuse," ESPN analyst Debbie Antonelli said. "It is the true sign of a teacher and definition of a coach who finds ways to put her players in positions to succeed for the good of the team."

Thomas, a 6-foot-2 forward, has played every position on the floor for the Terps and led the league in rebounding with 10.4 per game. She was second in assists (5.2) and third in scoring (17.7). In the 18 conference games, she led all players in scoring (19.7), rebounding (11.0) and assists (5.3).

"I've never had a player respond to challenges and have a year like Alyssa Thomas," Frese said. "She's willing to give every ounce of herself and do whatever her team needs. When adversity struck our team, she was a leader and always was the first person to step up and do more."

Thomas is the fourth Maryland player to earn ACC Player of the Year honors and third under Frese. Kristi Toliver earned the award in 2009 and Crystal Langhorne received it in 2008.

Brenda Frese Alyssa Thomas

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