April 10, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - While it has been almost a month since the Tulane University women's basketball team wrapped up its 2011-12 season with a trip to the second round of the WNIT, the final round of postseason honors rolled in on Tuesday as three Green Wave players were named to the All-Louisiana Team.
Junior guard Olivia Grayson claimed first-team honors, senior center Brett Benzio was named second-team all-state and freshman guard Danielle Blagg earned honorable-mention recognition. The Green Wave threesome has become synonymous with postseason awards as Grayson was named first-team All-Conference USA, Benzio was tabbed second-team and earned a spot on the league's All-Defensive Team, and Blagg was tabbed C-USA Freshman of the Year.
Benzio, Blagg and Grayson were three key members of a Tulane team that finished the year 23-11 overall, tied for third in the C-USA regular-season standings, advanced to the C-USA Championship game and earned a berth in the postseason. Along the way, Tulane finished a perfect 7-0 against Louisiana opponents and the 2011-12 campaign marked the third consecutive season that the Wave surpassed the 20-win plateau, played for the league title and played on beyond the C-USA Tournament.
Grayson earned first-team All-Louisiana honors after leading the team in points (470), points per game (13.8), field goals made (158), free throws made (122), free throw percentage (.819), assists (119), steals (78), minutes played (1068) and minutes per game (31.4) while sitting second in 3-point baskets (32), rebounds (200) and rebounds per game (5.9), fourth in blocked shots (14), and fifth in 3-point percentage (.291).
She ranked second in C-USA in free throw percentage, third in assists per game (3.5), seventh in points per game, steals per game (2.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.9) while sitting 72nd nationally in free throw percentage, 104th in steals per game and 169th in assists per game.
She was named C-USA Player of the Week on Nov. 21and Louisiana Player of the Week on Dec. 12, and was tabbed Tulane/DoubleTree Classic MVP and Conference USA Player of the Week on Jan. 3. In addition, Grayson claimed a spot on the Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship All-Tournament Team after averaging a team-best 18.3 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 steals per game while chipping in with 8.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game during Tulane's march to the C-USA Championship title game
Benzio, the team's lone senior, earned second-team all-state recognition after pacing the squad in field goal percentage (.530), rebounds (309), rebounds per game (9.1) and blocked shots (73) while sitting second in points (321), points per game (9.4), field goals made (133), minutes played (1004) and minutes per game (29.5), third in free throws made (55), and fifth in assists (43) and steals (26).
She led C-USA in field goal percentage and second in blocks per game and defensive rebounds per game (6.5), fourth in total rebounds per game, tied for 11th in offensive rebounds per game (2.6), and 23rd in points per game while finishing 30th nationally in blocks per game and 53rd in rebounds per outing.
Benzio tallied seven double-doubles, including a 21-point, 13-rebound effort against Hampton on Dec. 29. She scored in double figures 13 times, posted double-digit rebound totals 17 times, had 18 multiple-block outings, record five multiple-steal games, and t allied 10 multiple-assist contests.
She was named to Tulane/DoubleTree Classic All-Tournament Team, College Sports Madness C-USA Player of the Week on Feb. 6 and C-USA Player of the Week on March 2.
Blagg, meanwhile, led the team in 3-point baskets (54) while ranking third in points (286), points per game (8.4), field goals made (97), 3-point percentage (.297), steals (32) and blocked shots (17), fourth in minutes (763) and minutes per game (22.4), and fifth in rebounds (116), rebounds per game (3.4).
She ranked fifth in C-USA in 3-pointers per game (1.6), 15th in 3-point percentage and 28th in points per game, and finished 250th nationally in 3-pointers per game.
Blagg scored in double figures 14 times, had five or more rebounds 12 times, posted five multiple-block contests, and tallied seven multiple-steal games. She was named C-USA Freshman of the Week a team-record four times, claiming the honor on Nov. 21, Jan. 3, Jan. 9 and Jan. 23. Blagg also earned a spot on the C-USA Women's Basketball Championship All-Tournament Team after averaging 14.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks per game during Tulane's three-game run.
2011-12 ALL-LOUISIANA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM
Caitlyn Baggett, McNeese State, Jr. Guard
LaSondra Barret, LSU, Sr., Forward
Keiva Council, Loyola, Sr., Guard
Olivia Grayson, Tulane, Jr. Guard
Sumar Leslie, Nicholls State, Sr., Guard
Ashlyn Baggett, McNeese State, Jr., Guard
Jasmine Bendolph, Louisiana Tech, Sr., Guard
Brett Benzio, Tulane, Sr., Center
Sharde Henry, LSU-Shreveport, Jr., Forward
Adrienne Webb, LSU, Jr. Guard
K.K. Babin, Nicholls State, So., Guard
Shantale Bramble-Donaldson, Louisiana Tech, Sr., Forward
Jasmine Brewer, Loyola, So., Forward
Kendra Wells, McNeese State, Sr., Forward
Roslyn Wilmer, Louisiana College, Sr., Guard
Trudy Armstead, Northwestern State, Sr., Forward
Danielle Blagg, Tulane, Fr., Guard
Jordi James, Northwestern State, Sr., Guard
Kelli Jenkins, Southeastern Louisiana, Sr., Guard
Whitney Frazier, Louisiana Tech, Fr., Guard
Player of the Year - LaSondra Barrett, LSU
Freshman of the Year - Whitney Frazier, Louisiana Tech
Newcomer of the Year - Sharde Henry, LSU-Shreveport
Coach of the Year - Nikki Caldwell, LSU