Langer repeats as Player-of-the-Year to headline MIAC Women's Basketball Awards

Langer repeats as Player-of-the-Year to headline MIAC Women's Basketball Awards

Photos by Matt Higgins, MIAC, and Mike Ekern, University of St. Thomas

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The University of St. Thomas women's basketball team will enter the NCAA Division III Tournament this week with a No. 2 national ranking and a perfect 27-0 record. Therefore, it was surprising Thursday when the Tommies took home each of the top three individual honors when the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced its 2016-17 Women's Basketball Awards.

UST senior center Kaitlin Langer repeated as the MIAC Women's Basketball Player-of-the-Year following another dominant season. Her coach, Ruth Sinn, was voted the MIAC Coach-of-the-Year by her peers and sophomore center Hannah Spaulding received the MIAC Women's Basketball Sixth Player-of-the-Year award. The MIAC All-Conference, Honorable Mention, All-Defensive and All-MIAC Sportsmanship Teams were also announced.

Langer's dominance en route to her second-straight MIAC Player-of-the-Year honor was evident throughout the season. The returning All-American led the MIAC in scoring with an average of 19.7 points per game (ppg) in overall games, and also led the league in field goals (182) and free throws (168) made and points (532). She ranked third in the league in blocked shots (36) and offensive rebounds (92), and ranked fifth in total rebounds (222), sixth in rebounds per game (8.2) and field goal percentage (.552) and eighth in free throw percentage (.785).

She was just as important in the Tommies' 18-0 run through conference play. Langer led the league in scoring (19.4 ppg) in MIAC games and ranked third in offensive rebounds (63), sixth in rebounds per game (8.4), seventh in blocked shots (17) and eighth in both field goal (.521) and free throw (.784) percentage. This season Langer was named MIAC Athlete-of-the-Week three times, and National Player-of-the-Week once. She also headlined the All-Conference team with her second-straight selection as well as a second-straight All-Defensive Team nod.

Sinn's Coach-of-the-year honor is the fourth of her 12-year career at UST, and her third since 2012. She also received the award in 2007-08, 2011-12, 2014-15 and this season. This season she's led the Tommies to a perfect 27-0 record, with a 25-0 regular-season mark and an 18-0 MIAC record to win a third-straight conference title and fifth MIAC championship in the last seven years. Sinn's team also captured a sixth-straight MIAC Playoff title Sunday and is ranked No. 2 in the nation. Sinn's career record is 268-75 (.781) and 163-18 (.901) over the last six seasons. This year she coached Langer and Spaulding to their individual honors, as well as three All-Conference selections, two All-Defensive Team picks and two All-MIAC Honorable Mention honorees.  

Spaulding was recognized as the MIAC's top reserve thanks to her impact off the bench for the Tommies. She formed quite the 1-2 punch with Langer at center, leading the MIAC in field goal percentage in both overall (.656) and conference (.659) games. In just 12.2 minutes per game Spaulding averaged 7.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while blocking the fifth-most shots (31) in the league in overall games. In MIAC play she averaged 7.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game and ranked fourth in the league in blocked shots (25).

In addition to Langer's second-straight All-Conference selection, there were a trio of players who earned All-MIAC honors for the third-straight season: St. Olaf senior Betsey Daly, St. Catherine senior LaShay Holt and Gustavus junior Mikayla Miller. Saint Mary's Brandi Blattner, St. Thomas' Lauren Fischer and Saint Benedict's Niki Fokken all earned a second-straight All-Conference nod, and Saint Mary's Emma Schaefer earned her second career All-MIAC honor after also receiving the distinction in 2014-15. Langer and teammate Paige Gernes headlined the All-Defensive Team with their second-straight selections to that squad.

The MIAC All-Conference team was loaded with veteran players, as seven seniors and seven juniors populated most of the spots on the 18-player team, with two sophomores and two first-year players also selected. St. Thomas and Gustavus led the way with three All-MIAC selections each, Bethel, Saint Benedict, St. Catherine and Saint Mary's each had two, and Augsburg, St. Olaf, Concordia and Macalester had one player honored each. 

As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC also announced the 11th annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for women's basketball. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition.

2016-17 MIAC Women's Basketball Awards

Player-of-the-Year - Kaitlin Langer, St. Thomas (Sr., Center, Stillwater, Minn. / Hill-Murray) 
Sixth Player-of-the-Year - Hannah Spaulding, St. Thomas (So., Center, Annandale, Minn.)
Coach-of-the-Year - Ruth Sinn, St. Thomas (12th season)

2016-17 MIAC Women's Basketball All-Conference Team

Name Team Year    Position    Hometown/High School
Taite Anderson Bethel Fy.         Forward  White Bear Lake, Minn.  
Brandi Blattner Saint Mary's So.  Forward  Eyota, Minn. / Dover-Eyota 
Audra Clark St. Catherine Jr.   Guard  Kenyon, Minn. / Kenyon-Wanamingo     
Betsey Daly St. Olaf Sr.  Forward  Rochester, Minn. / Lourdes
Lauren Fischer St. Thomas Jr.  Guard/Forward      Oshkosh, Wis. / Lourdes Academy     
Regan Fruh Macalester Jr.  Center Helena, Mont. 
Niki Fokken Saint Benedict       Jr.  Post/Forward  Oronoco, Minn. / Pine Island 
Chelsey Guetter Saint Benedict Jr.  Forward Wabasso, Minn.
LaShay Holt St. Catherine Sr.  Guard Minneapolis, Minn. / Humboldt 
Hannah Howard Gustavus Sr. Forward  St. Paul, Minn. / Cretin-Derham Hall
Hannah Johnson Bethel So. Center Duluth, Minn. / East
Kaitlin Langer St. Thomas Sr.  Center  Stillwater, Minn. / Hill-Murray 
Tamira McLemore       Augsburg Fy.  Guard  Eagan, Minn.  
Mikayla Miller Gustavus Jr.  Guard  Goodhue, Minn. 
Miranda Rice Gustavus Jr.  Forward Forest Lake, Minn. 
Emma Schaefer Saint Mary's Sr.  Guard   Roseville, Minn.  
Greta Walsh Concordia Sr.  Guard  Litchfield, Minn.  
Gabby Zehrer St. Thomas  Sr.  Guard  Rogers, Minn. / Totino-Grace 

2016-17 MIAC Women's Basketball All-Defensive Team

Name Team Year    Position   Hometown/High School
Betsy Daly St. Olaf Sr.            Forward         Rochester, Minn. / Lourdes
Paige Gernes St. Thomas Sr.  Guard  Winona, Minn. / Cotter 
Hannah Johnson         Bethel So.  Center  Duluth, Minn. / East 
Kaitlin Langer St. Thomas         Sr.  Center  Stillwater, Minn. / Hill-Murray 
Shanni Moorse Bethel Sr.  Guard  Burnsville, Minn. / Apple Valley          

2016-17 MIAC Women's Basketball All-First-Year Team

Name Team Year    Position    Hometown/High School
Taite Anderson  Bethel  Fy. Forward White Bear Lake, Minn.  
Danica Cambrice  St. Catherine          Fy. Guard Minneapolis, Minn. / St. Croix Lutheran
Samantha Cooke  Carleton  Fy. Forward       Chesterfield, Mo. / Incarnate Word Academy       
Tamira McLemore           Augsburg  Fy. Guard Eagan, Minn. 
Ella Skrien  St. Olaf          Fy.          Guard St. Paul, Minn. / St. Croix Lutheran          

2016-17 MIAC Women's Basketball All-Conference Honorable Mention

Name Team Year    Position Hometown/High School
Makenna Ash St. Olaf So.         Forward         Ellison Bay, Wis. / Gibraltar 
Samantha Cooke          Carleton Fy.  Forward Chesterfield, Mo. / Incarnate Word Academy
Paige Gernes St. Thomas Sr. Guard Winona, Minn. / Cotter
Chloe Graves Hamline Sr.  Guard  Denver, Colo. / Kent 
Jenna Januschka Concordia Sr.  Forward St. Cloud, Minn. / St. Cloud Cathedral
Cece Leone Carleton So.  Forward Fairfax, Va. / Bishop Ireton
Abby Miller Bethel Jr.  Guard Howard Lake, Minn. / Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted      
Shanni Moorse Bethel Sr.  Guard Burnsville, Minn. / Apple Valley 
Alison Newton Saint Benedict      Sr.  Guard Oronoco, Minn. / Pine Island
Lucia Renikoff St. Thomas So.  Guard Minneapolis, Minn. / Washburn

2016-17 Women's Basketball All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team

Augsburg – Bridget Bednar (Jr., Pierz, Minn.)
Bethel – Shanni Moorse (Sr., Burnsville, Minn.)
Carleton – Maddie Talamantes (So., Chatfield, Minn.)
Concordia – Cassidy Rahman (Jr., Moorhead, Minn.)
Gustavus – Hannah Howard (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.)
Hamline – Ivannie Robertson (Jr., Keenesburg, Colo.)
Macalester – Karen Rathjens (Sr., Sudbury, Mass.)
Saint Benedict – Annie Dittberner (Sr., New Prague, Minn.)
St. Catherine – Kennedy Jennings (Sr., Grimes, Iowa)
Saint Mary's – Sam Jones (Sr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) 
St. Olaf – Makenna Ash So., Ellison Bay, Wis.)
St. Thomas – Paige Gernes (Sr., Winona, Minn.)

MIAC Women's Basketball Home Page