NORFOLK, Va. – The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) unveiled its 2020-21 Women’s Basketball Postseason awards and Howard University highlighted the honors, garnering the league’s Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year all in the same season for the first time in program history.
Senior guard Jayla Thornton (Newark, N.J.) was named MEAC Player of the Year, freshman Anzhane’ Hutton (Cedar Hill, Texas) took home Rookie of the Year honors and Howard head coach Ty Grace was named Coach of the Year.
Thornton, the all-time MEAC three-point scoring leader, became the first Bison to receive the top yearly award since 2017, when Te’Shya Heslip received the award. This season, the All-MEAC first team honoree now ranks among the league leaders in multiple scoring categories, including free throw percentage (82-percent), three-pointers made (2.5 per game), three-point percentage (34-percent) and scoring (14.1 ppg). As of today, the New Jersey native has connected on 270 long balls in her productive career and currently on track to graduate this spring in Sports Management with a minor in Journalism after cumulating a 3.8 GPA.
Hutton became the fourth Bison in Howard’s history to capture MEAC Rookie of the Year and the first since 2010, whenSaadia Doyle, the MEAC all-time leading scorer, was named to the honor. In addition to winning the league’s top rookie honor, she was selected to the All-MEAC second team, the All-Rookie team and the All-Defensive team. The Texas native produced five double-doubles while also leading the MEAC in field goal percentage at 52-percent. She ranked among the conference leaders in rebounding (9.5 per game), blocks (1.4 per game) and scoring (also 12.0 ppg).
In her sixth season, Grace joins Cathy Parson (2001-02) and MEAC and Howard University Hall of Famer Sanya Tyler(1993-94) as the only Bison head coaches to ever win the conference’s prestigious Coach of the Year award. Grace led Howard to a Northern Division crown with a 10-2 league mark. As a result, the Bison earned the top spot in the 2021 Air Force Reserve MEAC Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2002. The squad went 14-3 overall during an abbreviated season due to COVID-19 but managed to post nonconference victories over three Atlantic-10 foes George Washington, La Salle and Richmond.
Other notable Bison receiving recognition included sophomore point guard Iyanna Warren, (Accokeek, Md.), who was named to the All-MEAC third team after a league-leading 5.1 assists per game and freshman forward Kaiya Creek (Seat Pleasant, Md.) joined Hutton on the All-Rookie team.
The 2020-21 MEAC regular season divisional champions, first team honorees and other award winners, including Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, will be recognized in pre-game presentations prior to the honorees’ first games in tournament play.
The 2021 Air Force Reserve MEAC Basketball Tournament begins Thursday, March 11, and runs through Saturday, March 13, at the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.
Howard opens tournament play Friday, March 12 at noon against the quarterfinal’s winner between the South No. 2 Norfolk State/North No. 3 Coppin State.
(Story and Picture Courtesy of Howard University Athletics and The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)