Hornbeak & Reese Named LifeStorage MAAC Men's Basketball Weekly Award Winners

Player of the Week

Je’lon Hornbeak, Monmouth

Sr., 6-3, F, Arlington, TX/Grace Prep

Je’lon Hornbeak put together another career-best game in helping Monmouth beat Ivy-favorite Princeton, netting a career-high 25 points, a career-mark 10 rebounds and tying a career-best in threes for the second game in a row with six. The guard posted his first career double-double as MU knocked in a season-high 96 points to set the program record for consecutive wins with nine, and the best start in school history at 10-2. He was 8-13 from the floor and 6-9 from downtown, also chipping in two assists in 30 minutes.

Rookie of the Week

Isaiah Reese, Canisius

Fr., 6-5, G, Miami, FL/DME Academy

Canisius freshman Isaiah Reese scored a career-high 22 points, five of which came in overtime, as the Golden Griffins went on the road and defeated long-time rival St. Bonaventure 106-101 Dec. 22. Reese went 7-for-11 from the floor, 3-for-5 from 3-point land and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in the victory, which snapped the Blue and Gold’s six-game road losing streak in the series with the Bonnies. He also dished out four assists and grabbed two rebounds for Canisius, which has now won five straight for the first time since 2006-07.

MAAC Men's Basketball Standings Update

Don't miss the upcoming week of MAAC Men's Basketball

Iona's Marina Lizarazu & Rider's Stella Johnson Take Home LifeStorage MAAC Women's Basketball Weekly Awards

Player of the Week

Marina Lizarazu, Iona

Sr., G, Madrid, Spain/Fomento Fundacion-Rivas Ecopolis

Senior Marina Lizarazu put together a terrific performance Tuesday afternoon at Penn State, scoring a season-high 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting. She went 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. Lizarazu scored 11 of her 23 points in the fourth quarter in an effort to carry the Gaels to a momentous comeback.

Defensively, Lizarazu was matched up against Lady Lion sophomore Teniya Page, who entered the game ranked Top 25 in the nation averaging over 20 points per game; against Lizarazu, she held the potent threat to 11 points in 28 minutes. The Madrid, Spain native recorded a season-best seven steals and drew two charges.

Rookie of the Week

Stella Johnson, Rider

Fr., G, Denville, NJ/Morris Catholic

Freshman Stella Johnson scored a career-high 24 points and added nine rebounds, five steals, and four assists in the Broncs’ 77-60 victory over St. Francis Brooklyn on Wednesday. Johnson made 9-of-11 field-goal attempts, including her first seven tries and her only three-point attempt. She also made all five of her free-throw attempts. She only turned the ball over once in 34 minutes.

Rider’s Stella Johnson Named Women’s Basketball National Freshman of the Week

EDISON, NJ – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) has named Rider University’s freshman guard Stella Johnson the Women’s Basketball National Freshman of the Week for games ending the week of December 25. Johnson becomes the first Bronc in program history to take home the national weekly honor.

The freshman was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Rookie of the Week for the second time this season on Monday, December 26. Johnson is coming off a week where she scored a career-high 24 points on 9-of-11 (81.8%) shooting from the field in Rider’s 77-60 victory over St. Francis Brooklyn.

The Denville, NJ native recorded nine rebounds, four assists, and five steals en route to victory. Johnson made seven straight field goal attempts to start the game and went 5-of-5 from the free-throw line in 34 minutes of play.

Johnson is averaging 12.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 3.5 steals per game this season. Her 3.5 steals per game leads the MAAC and ranks 12th in the nation. Johnson ranks second in the conference among freshman averaging 12.1 points per contest. The guard is shooting 58.2 percent from the field, which is the second-highest mark in the MAAC.

Since the 2003-04 season, the USBWA has named a Women's National Freshman of the Year. This is the third season USBWA has honored a national freshman of the week. At the 2012 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Denver, the organization announced going forward that the national and weekly player award has been named for Hall of Famer and former UCLA All-American Ann Meyers Drysdale and another famous name in women’s basketball is being deliberated for the freshman award. At the conclusion of the regular season, the freshman winner will be voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA. The winner of the 2017 Women’s National Freshman of the Year will be announced and presented at the USBWA’s annual awards event in Dallas, site of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Final Four.

About the USBWA:

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected a women's All-America team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.

MAAC Women's Basketball Standings Update

Don't miss the upcoming week of MAAC Women's Basketball

Dedra Palmer Named Assistant Commissioner for Championships

EDISON, NJ – Dedra Palmer has been promoted to Assistant Commissioner for Championships at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), announced today by MAAC Commissioner, Rich Ensor. Palmer previously served as a Director of Championships and served in that role since August of 2015.

“The promotion of Dedra reflects her excellent work in hosting MAAC and NCAA Championships since she joined the staff in 2015. Dedra brings a great attention to detail, works well with the leagues’ coaches and administrators to conduct MAAC Championships at a very high level,” notes Commissioner Ensor.

In her new role as the Assistant Commissioner for Championships, Palmer will be responsible for the supervision of in-season and postseason competition for all MAAC sports except men’s and women’s basketball. She will oversee conference officiating operations, the development of league schedules in conjunction with other championship administrators and conduct meetings for all assigned sports. Additionally, Palmer will supervise the championships staff and have oversight of all championship event staffing and operations.

Palmer said, “I truly appreciate the opportunity that Commissioner Ensor has provided to me in being named the Assistant Commissioner for Championships. In my time at the MAAC, I have developed a great network across membership administrators, coaches and staff members. I am eager to grow with my expanded role within the championships department, while also looking forward to the continued success of our conference.”

Prior to her arrival at the MAAC, Palmer served as the Athletic Facilities, Game Operations and Championships Assistant at Duke University from 2014-15. While at Duke, Palmer held the title of primary game day operations manager for women’s volleyball, swimming & diving, and both men’s and women’s tennis, while also serving as a secondary operations manager for football and both men’s and women’s basketball. In addition, Palmer served as the tournament director for the 2015 NCAA Men’s First and Second Regional Rounds hosted at Duke University, and assisted with the NCAA Fencing Regionals, and NCAA Women’s Basketball First and Second Rounds

Palmer has also gained valuable experience while working at The College at Brockport in the capacity of Event Management and Facility Operations Assistant in 2014 while completing her Master of Sport Administration degree at Canisius College. During this time, she also volunteered for the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Second and Third Rounds which was hosted by the MAAC in Buffalo, New York.

A native of Whitesboro, New York, Palmer graduated from the State University of New York at Potsdam in 2012 where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology. A former women’s soccer and softball student-athlete, Palmer began her post-graduate career by serving as an Assistant Coach for women’s soccer at her alma mater and Herkimer County Community College.

Alexis Wayne Named Director of Women’s Basketball

EDISON, NJ - Alexis Wayne has been named Director of Women’s Basketball at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) as announced today by Commissioner Rich Ensor.

In Wayne’s role, she will serve as the primary liaison for women’s basketball. Wayne will serve as the Tournament Manager for the 2018 NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY.

“I am pleased to have Alexis rejoin the MAAC staff following her tenure as MAAC Championships fellow in 2015-16. Alexis is a bright and enthusiastic administrator who will move women’s basketball forward within the MAAC Championship structure,” notes Commissioner Ensor.

Wayne will also be the primary contact for the annual MAAC Honor Roll Diner at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. She will coordinate the MAAC Victory Scholars Program, oversee FanFest at the MAAC Basketball Championships and conduct women’s basketball coaches’ meetings.

Wayne said, “I want to thank Commissioner Ensor for this opportunity. I am excited to re-join the MAAC as Director of Women’s Basketball. I enjoyed my time with the MAAC last year and look forward to my new role within the conference.”

Wayne earned her bachelor's degree in sport management (2013) and her master’s degree in sport administration (2015) from Niagara University. While at Niagara, Wayne was a member of the Purple Eagles' softball team, earning multiple MAAC All-Academic Honors and All-Tournament recognition in her senior year.

Wayne was a ticketing, marketing & compliance graduate assistant at Niagara University and volunteered at the NCAA Bowling Championship and the NCAA Men’s Basketball First & Second Rounds in Brooklyn, NY.

Wayne's prior experiences include serving as a student recruiting assistant for the football program at Bowling Green State University, volunteering at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, and interning in athletic communications in the Niagara University Athletic Department.

Cooper, Washington Earn Student-Athlete of the Week Awards

Samantha Cooper, Fairfield

Women’s Basketball | RS Junior | Forward | 6’2” | Sudbury, Ontario/Lockerby Composite School

Redshirt junior forward Samantha Cooper is in the midst of the best start of her career, ranking second in the MAAC with 7.7 rebounds per game and 11th in the conference at 12.3 points per contest. Cooper has been the stable for the Stags this season, logging 37.1 minutes per contest which is the tops in the conference. In the classroom, Cooper maintains a 3.70 GPA as a biology major and has made the MAAC All-Academic Team every season she has been eligible.

Jordan Washington, Iona

Men’s Basketball | Senior | Forward | 6’8” | Jamaica, NY/Indian Hills (IA)/Pathways

Against NJIT, senior Jordan Washington continued his torrid pace to the start of the 2016-17 season. The Preseason All-MAAC First Team selection maintained his dominant efficiency rating leading the Maroon & Gold in scoring with 27 points in just 18 minutes, aided by a season-best 11 made free throws.

Washington also collected seven rebounds and dished out one assist.

As of Sunday, the post presence is second in the MAAC averaging 17.9 PPG, eighth in rebounding at 6.6 per game, and second in field goal percentage at 61.5%.

The Maroon & Gold play twice before a holiday break, matching up against UCSB and Towson Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.

Iona's Women's Lacrosse Alumna Blaire Nathanson Representing Israel In 2017 FIL Women's World Cup

ASHKELON, ISRAEL – Iona College lacrosse alum Blaire Nathanson (’15) was announced as part of 20-player Israel women’s national team that will compete in the 2017 FIL Women’s World Cup. The competition is being held at the University of Surrey near London, England next summer.

24 teams from different countries are expected to compete at the quadrennial Women’s World Cup. Israel placed eighth in its first World Cup appearance in 2013. The Blue-And-White will bring back three-players from that roster, and three young players from the country’s 2015 U19 World Championship team.

The roster is composed of both Israeli players, as well as members of the Jewish diaspora, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL). In conjunction with the Israel Lacrosse Tzedakah Program, each player will be competing in honor of a charity of their choosing.

Nathanson is raising money and awareness for the Family Nest Ashkelon. The organization’s main goal is to assist young mothers, situated in the challenged region of Southern Ashkelon, to exit the unconstructive cycle and transform themselves into self-sustaining and productive individuals.

During her career at Iona, Nathanson was a one-time All-MAAC Academic Team selection. She appeared in a career-high 17 games as a season, picking up 32 grounds balls.

For more information, check out the Family Nest Ashkelon website, and visit Israel Lacrosse’s main page.

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