Following the HoriZone Roundtable Horizon League Men’s and Women’s awards announced yesterday and the Men’s All-League Teams announced earlier this morning, we’ve reached the end of our staff picks with the Women’s Basketball All-League teams. As you’ll soon see, it was an incredibly deep year for All-League candidates, with a player whose production would normally garner solid second team status slipping to the third team.
Let’s jump into the picks:
First Team All-League
|Angel Baker||Wright State||17.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.0 APG|
|Macee Williams||IUPUI||17.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG|
|Megan Walstad||Milwaukee||13.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.0 BPG|
|Caitlin Hibner||Green Bay||15.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 63.4 EFG%|
|Mariah White||Cleveland State||19.4 PPG, 2.1 SPG|
Late surges by both Angel Baker and WSU resulted in the junior guard leading her team to a Horizon League championship and earning our selection as the Horizon League Player of the Year. After shooting just 36.6 percent from the field and 15.4 percent from 3-point range in non-league play, Baker’s numbers went through the roof against Horizon League foes.
Two-time defending Horizon League player of the Year Macee Williams has strong chance of winning the award for a third straight year, but in our picks she narrowly missed out on the three-peat thanks to the chaos of a COVID-19 season costing her 6 games, as well as the equally amazing play of Wright State star Baker. Williams finished the season as the Horizon League’s third leading scorer and top rebounder.
Walstad is our Defensive Player of the Year and the biggest reason that Milwaukee was able to hold on for a share of the Horizon League Regular Season Title. She was the league’s second leading rebounder and far and away the top shot blocker.
Caitlin Hibner did everything for the 14-4 Phoenix this season. She led the team in scoring and rebounding while finishing second in assists and steals. Hibner was an insanely efficient shooter, with a field goal percentage over 50 despite taking over one quarter of her shots from long range. She maintained a high level of efficiency from the perimeter as well, hitting 38.2 percent of her 3-pointers.
Mariah White led the Horizon League in scoring this year. While her shooting percentages weren’t exactly where you want them, she more than makes up for it to solidify her spot as a First Team All-League selection with her defensive prowess. The defending defensive player also led the league in steals this season.
Second Team All-League
|Kahlaijah Dean||Oakland||17.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.85 SPG|
|Mary Dunn||YSU||15.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG|
|Rachel McLimore||IUPUI||15.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.6 APG|
|Lindsey Duvall||NKU||17.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG|
|Brandi Bisping||Milwaukee||11.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG|
Kahlaijah Dean was an incredibly difficult player to exclude from the First Team All-League this year. The 2020 Sixth Player of the Year absolutely stuffed the stat sheet for Oakland. She finished the year second in the league in scoring, third in assists, fifth in steals, eleventh in rebounds and twelfth in blocks per game. All of that for a team that dramatically outperformed preseason expectations. I guess it’s only fitting that a player who earned All-League honors coming off the bench a year ago be the first one in after the First Team All-League.
From a statistical standpoint, there’s actually an argument that Dunn shouldn’t be the YSU player in this spot. But she’s the centerpiece of the Youngstown State offense and creates opportunities for her teammates to do big things on paper. The 2019 First Team All-League pick returned from an injury that cost her last season and didn’t skip a beat, finishing the season as the Penguins’ leading scorer.
Rachel McLimore is arguably the best second scoring options in the Horizon League. Her 15.1 points per game technically trail Youngstown State’s Nneka Obiazor among second options, but McLimore has to make sure the biggest star in the league gets her touches and the Jaguars have an overall stronger team than Youngstown State. McLimore is another player who suffered from COVID-19 stoppages limiting the number of games she was able to play, with six games missed through no fault of her own.
Like the IUPUI players, Lindsey Duvall would likely be getting more recognition if not for how many games her team missed due to COVID-19 stoppages. When she did play, Duvall was an absolute star. On a per-game basis, she was fifth in the league in scoring and seventh in rebounding. It’s a particularly impressive feat considering the four teams that Northern Kentucky played to end the season were the top four seeds in the upcoming Horizon League Tournament. Unfortunately, with just 12 league games played it’s difficult to grade her next to players who put in nearly a whole extra half of the league season.
Walstad’s frontcourt partner in crime, Brandi Bisping was Milwaukee’s lone Preseason All-Horizon League pick before taking a backseat to her teammate during the season. Nonetheless, Milwaukee’s significant overachievement from the Preseason Poll was that Bisping put up an even better season this year. As a result, she’s able to live up to her preseason expectations despite not being the Panthers’ primary option.
Third Team All-League
|Nneka Obiazor||YSU||15.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG|
|Chelsea Olson||YSU||9.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG|
|Alona Blackwell||Oakland||10.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG|
|Tyler Frierson||WSU||8.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG in 17.5 MPG|
|Nadia Dumas||CSU||10.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG|
Nneka Obiazor feels very out of place here. Our Freshman of the Year pick is putting up numbers that clearly don’t look like they belong on the third team, but with Youngstown State’s 9-7 Horizon League record it’s difficult to justify that they’re one of the three teams with two of the season’s top ten performers. Thinking back on it, I’m wondering if I should flip this pick with Dunn in case the YSU star decides to stick it to a niche blog for picking her Third Team All-League and returns for a sixth season with the Penguins.
Chelsea Olson is one of the more versatile players in the league. While she missed out on a double-digit scoring average; she was second in the league in assists, sixth in blocks, and cracked the top 20 in both steals and rebounds. Once again, a YSU player gets knocked down slightly in the rankings because of the team’s league record.
Alona Blackwell is a high-quality second option for the surprise fourth seed Oakland. While it’s hard for her numbers to stand out next to her do-everything teammate Kahlaijah Dean, she also did a little bit of everything for the Golden Grizzlies. Dean had some of her best performances in some of Oakland’s biggest weekends. She averaged 13.5 points per game in the team’s sweep of league champion Wright State and averaged 14.5 per game against Green Bay in a series where the Golden Grizzlies were one rimmed-out shot away from one of the biggest upsets of the early season.
Tyler Frierson is one of the more interesting players in the Horizon League. Her per 40 minute and per 100 possession statistics are worthy of First Team consideration, as she’s Wright State’s second leading scorer and the league’s fourth leading rebounder in just 17.5 minutes per game. Unfortunately, the 6-foot-4 Center isn’t likely to come close to the 40 minutes needed to accumulate those stats. Despite avoiding fouls well, her season-high for minutes is 24, set and then matched in a sweep of Milwaukee.
Nadia Dumas was Cleveland State’s second leading scorer and rebounder in Horizon League play. Up until this past weekend against Youngstown State, she was the definition of consistency for the Vikings. In that 12-game stretch, she never scored fewer than eight points or more than 19. Her stats rarely jump off the page, but she has regularly made a positive impact for the team.