2009-10 NEWBA Yearly Awards

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Coach of the Year

Judy Blinstrub Judy Blinstrub Judy Blinstrub
Babson College

Babson College head coach Judy Blinstrub has been named 2009-10 New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) Coach of the Year. Under Blinstrub's direction, the Beavers advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sectional Finals before falling 80-65 to top ranked Amherst College. Making its second NCAA Tournament appearance in as many years and its fifth overall, Babson started its magical run with a 76-56 win over Emmanuel College in the First Round. After picking up a 76-73 double overtime triumph over Colby College in the Second Round, the Beavers held on for a 71-68 overtime victory over Gettysburg College in the Sectional Semifinals. They closed out the season with an overall mark of 28-4.

Blinstrub was named NEWMAC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row after leading Babson to its second straight Conference Championship. The Beavers outscored their opponents by an average of 24.9 points per game en route to posting a perfect 18-0 mark in league play. At one point during the season, Blinstrub guided her squad to a program record 17 straight wins. She did so while featuring a starting lineup of three sophomores and two first years.

Over her 26 seasons at the helm of Babson's women's basketball program, Blinstrub has compiled an overall record of 444-253 (.637). In addition to her duties as women's basketball coach, she also serves as the College's Associate Director of Athletics and helped its women's soccer program to regional prominence before stepping down prior to the 2005 season. Blinstrub is the only coach in the history of Division III women's sports with 400 wins in basketball and 200 wins in soccer.

On the hardwood, her teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in both 1993 and 1994 in addition to this year's Elite Eight appearnce. Blinstrub also took Babson to the NCAA Tournament in 1999 and 2009. The Beavers won the 1986 MAIAW State Championship and captured conference titles in 1991, 1993, 1999, and 2009 prior to this season. They have appeared in the ECAC Tournament eight times, including a trip in 2005. Prior to this winter's accolades, Blinstrub was named conference Coach of the Year in 1990, 1993, 2005, and 2009. She took home Converse District I and New England Coach of the Year honors following the 1993 season.

A native of Newton, Mass., Blinstrub joined the Babson staff in 1984 after serving as coach and Athletics Director at Mount Alvernia and Brimmer and May School in Newton. She graduated from Bridgewater State College and is a member of its Athletics Hall of Fame.

Player of the Year

Melissa Teel Melissa Teel Melissa Teel
Western Connecticut • Junior • Center • Hamden, Conn.

Western Connecticut State University junior center Melissa Teel has been named the 2009-10 New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) Player of the Year. The All-America finalist piled up 13.9 points and 14.6 rebounds per game while starting all 29 contests for the Colonials. One of the most feared defenders in the nation, she led all of Division III with 4.9 blocked shots per outing. Teel finished her junior campaign with a program record 141 swats. She was also incredibly efficient on the offensive end of the floor, where she converted 63.2% (17-269) of her shots from the floor.

Teel became just the second women's basketball player in Western Connecticut State history to earn LEC Player of the Year accolades and first since Shannon Flowers headlined the All-Conference Teams in the program's inaugural campaign in 1994. The center racked up an eye popping 23 double-doubles over the course of the season. She was named LEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player after scoring a season best 23 points in her team's 61-46 triumph over the University of Southern Maine in Championship. In addition, her 21 boards in the Colonials 59-37 win at Springfield College were a season high.

Over the course of the season, Teel was named NEWBA Player of the Week three times. She propelled Western Connecticut to the Second Round of the NCAA National Tournament, where it fell 65-43 to Bowdoin College. It was the Colonials 12th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They closed out the year with an overall record of 23-6.

Rookie of the Year

Curran Leighton Curran Leighton Curran Leighton
Southern Maine • First Year • Forward • Dover, N.H.

University of Southern Maine first year Curran Leighton has been named 2009-10 New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) Rookie of the Year. The forward lifted the Huskies to the NCAA National Tournament for 24th time in program history. She started all 30 games, racking up team highs of 16.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots per outing. Leighton also dished out 60 assists and came up with 1.6 steals per game. She shot 45.4% (186-410) from the floor, including 37.3% (19-51) from beyond the arc. The forward knocked down 80.8% (101-125) of her free throw attempts.

Leighton amassed 10 double-doubles en route to earning LEC Rookie of the Year accolades. She was also selected to the LEC All-Conference First Team. The forward scored 20 points or more on 12 occasions. Her 27 points at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth were a career high, and she also pulled down a career best 18 boards when Southern Maine hosted the Corsairs. The Huskies were victorious in both contests. They finished the season with an overall record of 21-9 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round, where they were ousted by top ranked Amherst College 76-49.

Leighton was selected as NEWBA Rookie of the Year four times and NEWBA Player of the Year twice this season.

All-Region First Team
  • Nicole Wurdeman, Babson College (So, F, Rowley, Mass.) - An All-America finalist, Wurdeman was named NEWMAC Player of the Year after leading Babson to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. She registered 15.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game for the Beavers, who captured both the NEWMAC regular season and  tournament titles for the season year in a row. The forward collected NEWMAC All-Conference honors for the second straight season.
  • Shelby Bradford, Husson University (Sr, F, Lee, Maine) - Bradford was selected as NAC Player of the Year for the second straight season. She earned All-Conference First Team accolades after boosting the Eagles to the NAC Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The forward finished her career with 1,535 points and 953 rebounds. This winter, she averaged a double-double on 16.6 points and 11.6 boards per game.  
  • Melissa Teel, Western Connecticut State University (Jr, C, Hamden, Conn.) - Teel was named LEC Player of the Year and NEWBA Player of the Year. The All-America finalist racked up 13.9 points and 14.6 rebounds per game while leading the nation with 4.9 rejections per outing. After pushing the Colonials to the LEC Championship, Teel helped her team to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.
  • Jessica Chapin, Brandeis University (Sr, G, Mendon, N.Y.) - Chapin collected 16.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for Brandeis University. In addition to taking home UAA Player of the Year accolades, she was also named to the Regional All-America Team. The forward was named to the UAA All-Conference First Team for the second year in a row. She closed out her career with over 1,000 points scored. 
  • Colleen Hart, Tufts University (Jr, G, Needham, Mass.) - Hart was named to the NESCAC All-Conference First Team after grabbing Conference Player of the Week honors three times. She lifted the Jumbos to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, where they were dropped by Kean University. For the season, the guard averaged 17.3 points, 2.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds per contest.
Nicole Wurdeman Wurdeman
Shelby Bradford Bradford
Melissa Teel Teel
Jessica Chapin Chapin
Colleen Hart Hart
All-Region Second Team
  • Danielle Jenkins, Salem State College (Sr, C, Marlborough, Mass.) - Jenkins 17.6 points and 7.3 boards per game en route to earning MASCAC Player of the Year honors. The center converted 50.7% (175-345) of her shots from the field and 73.8% (107-145) of her free throw attempts. She finished her career as the Vikings second leading scorer of all-time with 1,650 career points.
  • Caitlin Hynes, Bowdoin College (Sr, C, Owl's Head, Maine) - Hynes was voted to the NESCAC All-Conference Second Team after helping Bowdoin College to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. The center posted a team best 12.9 points to go with 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per contest. She drained 48.6% (141-290) of her attempts from the floor and 74.5% (73-98) of her tries from the charity stripe. 
  • Lauren Yanofsky, Bates College (Sr, F, Belmont, Mass.) - Yanofsky was named to the NESCAC All-Conference First Team after amassing 15.1 points, 6.4 boards, 2.0 assists and 2.0 blocked shots per game. She was also selected to participate in the NEWBA Senior All-Star Classic.
  • Melissa Martinelli, Coast Guard Academy (Sr, C, Vero Beach, Fla.) - Martinelli was voted to the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team for the second season in a row. Her 19.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game were both good for tops in the league. The center piled up 20 or more points 11 times, posted seven double-doubles and was named NEWMAC Player of the Week three times. Martinelli finished her career as Coast Guard's all-time leader in both points (1,853) and rebounds (906).
  • Alison Cappelloni, Colby College (Sr, F, Sudbury, Mass.) - Cappelloni was selected to the NESCAC All-Conference First Team after helping Colby College to its first trip to Conference Championship and its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. The forward tallied 12.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per outing, as the Mules advanced to the Second Round of the Tournament.
Danielle Jenkins Jenkins
Caitlin Hynes Hynes
Lauren Yanofsky Yanofsky
Melissa Martinelli Martinelli
Alison Cappelloni Cappelloni