Army Sweeps Patriot League Major Awards In Unprecedented Fashion

Kelsey Minato becomes the Patriot League's first to sweep Player and Rookie of the Year accolades

Kelsey Minato becomes the Patriot League's first to sweep Player and Rookie of the Year accolades

March 5, 2013

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Army women's basketball made Patriot League history on Tuesday as the Black Knights swept all four major awards, becoming the first team in conference history to achieve such a feat. Freshman Kelsey Minato was named both Patriot League Player and Rookie of the Year, while senior Anna Simmers was voted Defensive Player of the Year and Dave Magarity was tabbed Coach of the Year.

Minato becomes the first player in the Patriot League's 23-year history to be named both Player and Rookie of the Year in the same season. The freshman point guard was the lone player in the Patriot League to score in double figures in every conference contest en route to a league-best 16.1 points per game average. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native's overall scoring average (12.9) ranks fifth in the conference and is the best by a freshman.

Among the categories Minato led the Patriot League in were three-point field goal percentage (.394), free-throw percentage (.824) and minutes played (37.4). She paced Army in scoring nine times en route to the second-most points ever scored by an Army plebe (374). Entering the postseason, Minato is 19 points shy of the West Point freshman record set by the Black Knights' most recent All-American, Lisa Russell (393) in 1991-92. 

Among her season full of highlights include setting the Army single-game record for free-throws made (13 at Air Force on Nov. 23), establishing the Academy record for Patriot League Rookie of the Week certificates (eight) while also being named the Player of the Week twice, named one of three National Player of the Week Nominees as selected by espnW on Feb. 17, recording game-high points in both wins over Navy and shooting 80 percent (8-of-10) en route to a career-high 24 points against Bryant (Dec. 30).

Minato is Army's first Rookie of the Year since Alex McGuire was selected in 2005-06, and is the fourth overall, joining Russell and Cara Enright (2004-05). She is the first Black Knight since Enright (2005-06) to be named the conference's Player of the Year and is the fifth overall, joining Army's all-time leading scorer Katie Macfarlane (2003-04) and two-time selection Russell (1992-93, 1993-94).

Simmers is the second Black Knight to be voted Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, which has been in existence since the 2004-05 season. Margaree "Red" King was the only other Army player to earn the honor, and did so following the 2007-08 season.

A three-time Player of the Week selection this season, Simmers was constantly tasked with guarding the oppositions' top perimeter threat. The Anchorage, Alaska, native made crucial defensive stops in key situations and games, including holding the conference's leading scorer, Alex Smith of Holy Cross, without a second-half point as the Black Knights held the Crusaders to a series-low 35 points in Army's final road game of the regular season.

Simmers and the Army defense held two Patriot League opponents below 40 points for the first time in conference history, as the Black Knights enter postseason ranked ninth among all Division I teams in scoring defense at 51.2 points per game. Simmers and the stingy Army defense set a program record for defensive scoring in Patriot League play, holding conference foes below a 50-point per game average (47.9) for the first time since joining the league in 1990-91.

Minato and Simmers were also members of the All-Patriot League First Team, marking the first time in Army history the Black Knights have placed multiple members on the first squad. Simmers' first-team nod is the second of her career after earning the recognition last season as well.

Minato and classmate Aimee Oertner were voted to the All-Rookie Team, once again marking the first time in program history the Black Knights had multiple Rookie Team members in the same season.

Oertner ended the regular season ranked 13th in the nation with 77 blocked shots and leads the Black Knights this season with six double-doubles. She is the conference's third-leading scorer among freshmen at 7.1 points per game, and second-leading rookie rebounder (7.0). The Slatington, Pa., native has started 26 games for Army and has led the Black Knights in rebounding 12 times. Oertner was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week three times.

Magarity earns his first Patriot League Coach of the Year recognition during his seventh year at the helm. The 30-year coaching veteran became Army's first Division I coach to record multiple 20-win seasons by guiding the young Black Knights to their first Patriot League regular-season title since 2005-06 and just the second in history. Magarity recorded the second-largest turnaround in the program's Division I history, improving Army's 14-16 record from 2011-12 to 22-7 entering the postseason.

Magarity reached an Army milestone win in the season-opening victory at Wagner, becoming the third Black Knight mentor to reach 100 wins. Magarity is the lone coach in Army history to record all of his triple-digit victories at the Division I level and currently has 121 wins at West Point to rank third overall.

Magarity is Army's second Patriot League Coach of the Year in program history and the first since the late Maggie Dixon was selected following the 2005-06 season, when the Black Knights captured their only other conference regular-season title and made the program's lone trip to the NCAA Division I Tournament.

Prior to taking the head coaching job at West Point, Magarity was also named his respective league's coach of the year on the men's side by NABC Division I District III while at St. Francis (1981), and ECAC Metro (1986-87), Northeast Conference (1994-95) and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (2001-02) while coaching at Marist.

Magarity's selection as Patriot League Coach of the Year, Minato's Rookie of the Year honor, Minato and Oertner's All-Rookie nods and Simmers' first-team selection were all unanimous decisions.

"I appreciate it, it's an honor, I think this is one of the greatest leagues I've coached in, if not the best," said Magarity. "Being in this league with such great coaches who I really enjoy being around is unbelievable. The one thing I'm very proud of, when you're looking at the RPI for conferences, this league is 15th; if people don't take notice of that and what we've done as a conference then there's a problem. It's been a great year for this conference, just some great games. I'm humbled by the honor and very, very appreciative of the young ladies that I have and what a great staff we've put together. My young assistants have done a terrific job to put us in the position that we're in today.

"Our freshmen have had an unbelievable impact on this team," Magarity continued. "Aimee Oertner - I'm so happy for her. She's worked so hard and is such a pleasure to coach. She's a coach's daughter which is special to me because my daughter played and is now a coach. I just think she gets it. There's not a lot more I can say about Kelsey Minato. I'm so excited for her and just what she's done this year is remarkable. She's a special player. The way she handles herself - her maturity and poise as a freshman is very rare.

"Anna has been such a hard-nosed defender for us this season," Magarity continued. "She's always given the toughest task day-in and day-out when it comes to the other team and she's made some big stops when we've needed her to."

Army men's basketball coach Zach Spiker was also tabbed Coach of the Year this week as the Spiker-Magarity duo becomes just the second Coach of the Year sweep in Patriot League history. Army men's plebe Kyle Wilson earned the men's Rookie of the Year honor as well, as West Point became the fourth school to sweep both newcomer plaudits in the same season.

The top-seeded Army women will lift the lid on the postseason on Thursday when the Black Knights host eighth-seeded Colgate at Christl Arena. As the No. 1 seed, Army is guaranteed to host every game it plays in the Patriot League Tournament, beginning with Thursday's Quarterfinal. Army's Patriot League award recipients will be recognized prior to tipoff at 7 p.m.

Player of the Year - Kelsey Minato, Army, Fr., G
Defensive Player of the Year - Anna Simmers, Army, Sr., G
Rookie of the Year - Kelsey Minato, Army, Fr., G
Coach of the Year - Dave Magarity, Army

First Team All-Patriot League
Kelsey Minato, Army, Fr., G
Anna Simmers, Army, Sr., G

Alex Smith, Holy Cross, Jr., G
Kerry Kinek, Lehigh, Fr., F
Jade Geif, Navy, Jr., F

Second Team All-Patriot League
Alexis Dobbs, American, Jr., G
Shelby Romine, Bucknell, Jr., G
Jhazmine Lynch, Colgate, Sr., G
Amy Lepley, Holy Cross, Sr., G/F
Alix Membreno, Navy, Jr., G

All-Rookie Team
Aimee Oertner, Army, F/C
Kelsey Minato, Army, G

Josie Stockill, Colgate, F
Jamie O'Hare, Lafayette, G
Kerry Kinek, Lehigh, F

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