WIU’s Nichols, Lutz And Zars Receive Conference Awards

By John Bohnenkamp

Western Illinois coach JD Gravina knew he had players deserving of postseason honors in the Summit League.

Given the depth of talent, though, Gravina wasn’t sure how the selections would go.

“I have never seen a more talented group of players in this league,” Gravina said. “It’s really unreal.”

Three Leathernecks, though, were honored by the conference when the postseason awards were announced on Thursday.

Guard Danni Nichols was a second-team selection. Forward Evan Zars was an honorable-mention all-conference pick. Guard Elizabeth Lutz was named to the conference’s all-defensive team.

Nichols tied for fourth in the conference in scoring at 15.7 points per game. She was fourth in field-goal percentage at 53.1 percent.

Zars led the Summit League in rebounding with nine per game. She was third in the conference in field-goal percentage (.536), sixth in blocks (1.2 per game) and averaged 10.8 points.

Lutz led the conference with 62 steals. She averaged 11.9 points per game.

South Dakota’s Chloe Lamb was the conference’s player of the year. South Dakota State’s Aaron Johnston was named the coach of the year.

South Dakota’s Grace Larkins, who is from Altoona, was the conference’s sixth player of the year.

The awards:

First Team: Naomie Alnatas, Kansas City (Sr, G); Kacie Borowicz, North Dakota (Jr., G); Chloe Lamb, South Dakota (Sr., G); Brooklyn McDavid, Kansas City (Gr., F); Myah Selland, South Dakota State (Jr., F); Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota (Sr., C)
Second Team
: Uju Ezeudu, Denver (Jr., F); Liv Korngable, South Dakota (Sr., G); Paige Meyer, South Dakota State (Fr., G); Tirzah Moore, Oral Roberts (Fr., F); Danni Nichols, Western Illinois (Sr., G)
Honorable Mention:
Paiton Burckhard, South Dakota State (Jr., F); Heaven Hamling, North Dakota State (Jr., G); Tylee Irwin, South Dakota State (Sr., F); Tori Nelson, South Dakota State (So., F); Evan Zars, Western Illinois (Sr., F)
All-Defensive Team
: Tylee Irwin, South Dakota State (Sr., F) ;Chloe Lamb, South Dakota (Sr., G); Melissa Leet, North Dakota (Sr., C); Elizabeth Lutz, Western Illinois (Sr., G); Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota (Sr., C)
All-Newcomer Team
: Jade Hill, St. Thomas (Fr., G); Brooklyn McDavid, Kansas City (Gr., F); Paige Meyer, South Dakota State (Fr., G); Tirzah Moore, Oral Roberts (Fr., F); Erin Norling, St. Thomas (Gr., F)
Player of the Year
: Chloe Lamb, South Dakota
Defensive Player of the Year
: Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota
Sixth Woman of the Year
: Grace Larkins, South Dakota
Freshman of the Year
: Tirzah Moore, Oral Roberts
 Newcomer of the Year
: Brooklyn McDavid, Kansas City
Coach of the Year
: Aaron Johnston, South Dakota State

Photo: Western Illinois’ Danni Nichols was named to the Summit League’s all-conference second team on Thursday. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

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