University of Maine junior guard Anne Simon has become just the fifth player in America East history to be named the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
And UMaine’s Amy Vachon was named the Coach of the Year for the fourth time in her six years as the head coach, joining Joanne Palombo McCallie as the only two coaches in America East and program history to earn four America Coach of the Year honors.
Three other players off UMaine’s regular season championship season also earned all-conference recognition.
Graduate student forward Maeve Carroll earned her third consecutive All-AE second team berth and she and Simon were each named to the All-Defensive team for the first times in their careers.
Sophomore point guard Alba Orois collected her first all-league berth as she was selected to the third team and fellow Spaniard Paula Gallego earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team.
Simon is America East’s scoring leader at 16.3 points per game and she leads the conference in steals with 2.89 per contest. She is 10th in the country in steals per game among 348 schools.
She recently became the 23rd player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
The 5-foot-8 native of Sandweiler, Luxembourg, is also averaging 4.9 rebounds and two assists per game while shooting 42.1 percent from the floor.
“This means a lot to me,” said Simon, who scored in double figures in 27 of UMaine’s 28 regular season games. “I’m really happy. But my main focus is winning a championship.”
Former Black Bear star Blanca Millan is the only player in league history to be named the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season twice.
The top-seeded Black Bears will host No. 8 Hartford on Saturday at 1 p.m. as they begin their quest to win an America East tournament championship with a quarterfinal game at the Memorial Gym in Orono.
Augusta native Vachon, UMaine’s all-time assists leader, has guided a team with 10 freshmen and sophomores and only two returning starters to 12 straight wins and the conference regular season title.
UMaine is 18-10 overall and 15-3 in the conference. It is its fourth regular season championship in five years.
UMaine is 77-19 in America East play since Vachon took over from Richard Barron.
Simon said she wasn’t surprised Vachon was named the Coach of the Year.
“She really did a great job to finish number one in the conference with such a young team,” Simon said.
The 5-11 Carroll, a native of Oakton, Virginia, led America East in rebounding at 8.5 rebounds per game and has grabbed 10 or more in a game 12 times this season.
She also ranks in the top five in the conference in assists per game (3.4), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5), blocked shots (1.1), steals (1.5) and field goal percentage (43.5). She is 15th in points per game at 10.8.
The speedy Orois was the league leader in assists with 5.7 per game and that also ranks her 16th in the country. She tied the school record with 14 assists in a game in the 77-51 win over New Hampshire on Jan. 13.
The 5-7 Orois, who is from Mollet del Valles, Spain, is also ninth in the country in minutes played at 37.74 per game and has averaged 10.1 points per contest. She is shooting 47 percent from the floor and has chipped in with three rebounds a game.
The 6-foot-1 Gallego, who is from Barcelona, Spain, has earned the league’s Rookie of the Week honors three times. She started the final 16 games and has averaged 3.4 points and 2.2 rebounds. She leads the team in shooting percentage at 48.1 percent and has scored in double figures twice including a career-high 13 in an important road win at Albany.