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Fighting Irish’s Turner is Freshman of Year; FSU’s Semrau receives coaching honor
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Notre Dame junior guard Jewell Loyd has been voted the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year by the Blue Ribbon Panel and highlights the group’s list of individual honorees for the 2014-15 season.
Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner was voted the ACC Freshman of the Year, while Florida State’s Sue Semrau earned ACC Coach of the Year recognition. Duke senior Elizabeth Williams was voted the ACC Defensive Player of the Year for an unprecedented fourth consecutive time, and Florida State’s Shakayla Thomas received the nod as the ACC Sixth Player of the Year.
Named first-team All-ACC for the second straight season on Tuesday, Loyd has averaged an ACC-leading 20.7 points per game and handed out 3.2 assists per contest while leading the Fighting Irish to a 28-2 season that includes a 15-1 mark in ACC play. The 5-foot-10 native of Lincolnwood, Illinois, is a major reason Notre Dame enters this week’s ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the second straight year. Loyd has scored 621 points this season, pushing her into ninth place on Notre Dame’s all-time single-season scoring list.
The 6-foot-3 Turner has provided a complementary inside force for the second-ranked Irish, averaging 14.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. The six-time ACC Freshman of the Week leads the conference in field goal percentage at .681 and ranks third in blocked shots at 2.7 per game. The Pearland, Texas, native has recorded six double-doubles – five in ACC play – and owns six scoring games of 20 points or more.
Semrau is the ACC Coach of the Year for the fourth time in her 18 years at Florida State after guiding the Seminoles to a 27-3 overall record, a 14-2 mark in ACC play and a No. 2 ACC Tournament seeding. The seventh-ranked Seminoles – who were picked for a fifth-place ACC finish by both the Blue Ribbon panel and the league’s head coaches in preseason – head into the ACC Tournament having already set a school single-season record for wins. FSU was a perfect 14-0 at home this season, but also owns an impressive 9-2 mark in true road games.
Duke’s Williams, who earlier this week became just the second player in conference history to be voted first-team All-ACC four times, again earned the league’s ultimate defensive accolade after keying a Blue Devil defense that leads the league in field goal percentage defense (.345) and ranks third in scoring defense (59.0 ppg). The Virginia Beach, Virginia, native ranks second in the ACC in blocked shots at 2.9 per game, keying Duke to the conference team lead in that category.
Florida State’s Thomas has averaged a shade over 19 minutes of playing time while coming off the bench in 27 of the Seminoles’ 30 games. The 5-foot-11 forward from Sylacauga, Alabama, joined Notre Dame’s Turner on the All-ACC Freshman Team after averaging 9.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Thomas ranks sixth among ACC players in field goal accuracy, shooting .529 from the floor.
All of this year’s individual honorees are scheduled to compete in the 38th annual ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, set for Wednesday through Sunday (March 4-8) at the Greensboro Coliseum.
ACC Blue Ribbon Panel Season Awards
2015 ACC Player of the Year
Jewell Loyd, Jr., G, Notre Dame
2015 ACC Freshman of the Year
Brianna Turner, Fr., F, Notre Dame
2015 ACC Coach of the Year
Sue Semrau, Florida State
2015 ACC Defensive Player of the Year
Elizabeth Williams, Sr., C/F, Duke
2015 ACC Sixth Player of the Year
Shakayla Thomas, Fr., F, Florida State