Full Atlantic Sun All-Conference Team
MACON, Ga. - FGCU collected three of the top Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball superlative honors as senior Whitney Knight was voted the Player of the Year for the second-straight season by the league's head coaches on Wednesday.
The Winston Salem, N.C. native becomes the second Eagle to win back-to-back A-Sun Player of the Year honors after Sarah Hansen won the award in 2013-14. She was joined by teammate Kaneisha Atwater as First Team All-Conference selections. It marks the third-consecutive first team selection for Knight and second-straight honor for Atwater.
The Eagles added two superlative honors as DyTiesha Dunson earned the Defensive Player of the Year honor after collecting 44 steals this season. She led the team in minutes per game at 32.8 and added 12 blocks. She regularly was assigned the other team's top perimeter player on a defense that allowed only 49.3 points per game, second fewest in the country. Head Coach Karl Smesko was honored with his seventh Coach of the Year award, sixth consecutive, after guiding the Eagles to a 26-4 mark including 14-0 in conference play.
Stetson's McKenna Beach took home the A-Sun Freshman of the Year award, becoming the second Hatter in the last three seasons to win the honor. Beach averaged 30.0 minutes per game in league play and was strong down the stretch averaging 7.4 points per game in conference. She added 3.2 RPG and 2.5 SPG, while shooting over 70.0 percent from the foul line.
The Newcomer of the Year award was shared among three A-Sun newcomers this season, a first in league history. Jacksonville's Christin Mercer averaged 11.0 points per game off the bench in her first season with the Dolphins. She scored in double figures 14 times and finished the season shooting 53.6 percent from the floor. North Florida's Claire Ioannidis had 23 double-digit scoring games including six 20-point games for the Ospreys. She finished with 77 three-pointers made, most in the A-Sun. Stetson's Breana Bey led the league with six A-Sun Newcomer of the Week awards in 2015-16. She registered the A-Sun's best field goal percentage at 55.4 percent and ranked seventh in rebounding at 7.4 per contest.
Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team:
(* - Denotes unanimous selection)
- Whitney Knight, FGCU*: The 2016 A-Sun Player of the Year goes back-to-back after leading the Eagles with 13.1 points per game in the 21 games she played. The Eagles compiled a 20-1 record with Knight, including 19-straight wins heading into the postseason. Knight also was a force defensively leading the league in blocks with 65 this season and breaking the league's all-time career blocks mark, currently at 299. Knight becomes the second eagle to earn First Team recognition three times in her career.
- Kaneisha Atwater, FGCU*: Appeared and started in all 30 games for the Eagles this season helping the team go undefeated in league play. Produced 22 double-digit scoring games and finished the season averaging 13.7 points per game. Dished out 90 total assists and collected 41 steals on the season. Atwater becomes the third Eagle to earn two-time First Team All-Conference honors.
- Brittany Starling, USC Upstate*: Starling was a double-double machine for the Spartans as she led the league with 17 this season. During the season, Starling became the first Spartan and 10th player in league history to join the 1,000 points and 1,000 rebound club. She ranked top-10 nationally with 347 total rebounds (7th) and 12.0 RPG (8th).
- Brianti Saunders, Stetson*: Saunders led the A-Sun in scoring overall at 18.2 and in conference play at 17.4 points per game. She scored in double figures in 27 of 28 games played this season. Saunders set a new Stetson single-game record with 40 points and was the only A-Sun player to surpass 500 total points this season. She led the league in free-throw percentage shooting 84.3 percent. This marks Saunders' first recognition on the First Team All-Conference.
- Sherranda Reddick, Jacksonville: Reddick was the Dolphins' leading scorer at 12.4 points per game. Started all 29 games for Jacksonville and became just the seventh player in Jacksonville to surpass 1,000 career points during the season. Scored 10 or more points in 19 games helping the Dolphins to an 11-3 mark in conference play.
Atlantic Sun All-Conference Second Team
- Briona Brown, Jacksonville
- Christin Mercer, Jacksonville
- Jasmine McAllister, Kennesaw State
- Brittany Clency, USC Upstate
- Breana Bey, Stetson
Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team
- McKenna Beach, Stetson*
- Allison Johnson, Kennesaw State*
- Kelly Guarino, NJIT*
- Jasmyn Brown, Jacksonville
- Myka Johnson-Matthews, Stetson