The Lady Lions won its third straight conference championship two days ago; now, the individual Big Ten accolades and honors are following suit. Maggie Lucas, Dara Taylor, and head coach Coquese Washington all earned top conference awards following yet another very strong regular season for Penn State’s women’s basketball squad.
Lucas was named the Big Ten Player of the Year for the second season in a row, and was also elected an unanimous All-Big Ten First Team selection by the coaches and media. Taylor, also a senior guard for Penn State, earned the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honor. Washington was unsurprisingly named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season.
Lucas became the seventh player in Big Ten history to win the conference’s top accolade twice, joining Kelly Mazzante as the two Lady Lions to pull in two Player of the Year awards. She is also one of ten semi-finalists for the Naismith Trophy following an incredible season during which she averaged 21.5 points to lead the conference in scoring along with 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists.
Taylor is the second-ever Lady Lion to win the Defensive Player of the Year award, joining Tanisha Wright. Taylor led the Big Ten in steals this season, averaging 2.9 takeaways per game. She wasn’t too shabby on the offensive end of the court either, turning in a season line of 11.6 points and 4.9 assists.
Washington joins Jim Foster of Ohio State as the only two coaches in Big Ten history to be named the conference’s top coach for three straight years. After losing three starters following last season, Washington was able to keep the team atop the Big Ten with a 13-3 conference clip on the year.
Also honored by the Big Ten was Ariel Edwards, the senior guard/forward who was the only other Penn Stater to join Lucas on the conference’s first team. Edwards averaged a career-best 14.9 points in the regular season, the 12th-best scoring average in the conference, in addition to 5.8 rebounds per game. Forward Talia East earned an honorable mention on both the coaches’ and media teams.