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March 9, 2012

Women's Basketball All-Ivy -- 2011-12

Photos courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications and Yale Sports Publicity

PRINCETON, N.J. -- After winning its third-straight League title, Princeton took home two of the three major postseason Ivy awards for the second-consecutive season, a program-first. In a vote by the League’s eight head coaches, junior Niveen Rasheed (Danville, Calif.) was a unanimous choice for Player of the Year, teammate Lauren Polansky (Mill Valley, Calif.) was named Defensive Player of the Year and Yale freshman Sarah Halejian (Wyckoff, N.J.) was selected Rookie of the Year.

Rasheed became the second-straight Tiger to earn Player of the Year, as Addie Micir was a unanimous selection for the award in 2010-11. Rasheed was a major reason why Princeton finished undefeated in conference play, as she led the League in rebounding (8.8) and finished second in scoring (16.8). The junior ranks tied for second in steals (2.4), fifth in field goal percentage (45.5), fifth in assists (2.8) and 10th in free throw percentage (75.9). Rasheed was a four-time Ivy League Player of the Week and is tied for sixth in Ivy history in that category.

Rasheed led the League with 10 double-doubles and scored at least 20 points in 10 games, second-best in the conference. Her 10 games with double-digits in rebounds also leads the League. She has scored in double-figures in the last 20 games and 26 out of the team’s 28 contests this season.

Rasheed becomes the first Tiger in program history to earn Ivy League Rookie and Player of the Year honors during her career. She is the 13th Ivy League women’s basketball player to earn both awards, and the first since Dartmouth’s Brittney Smith in 2008-09. Rasheed was also a unanimous selection for first-team All-Ivy, marking the second time she received first team accolades (2009-10).

Halejian finished in double-figures 10 times, including a career-best 18 at Brown on Jan. 13 in a 10-point victory for the Bulldogs. She averaged 8.1 points, second-most among rookies, along with 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. She shot 76.0 percent from the free throw line (51-for-67), fourth-best on the team. Halejian was a six-time Rookie of the Week recipient, which ties her for the fourth-most such honors in Ivy history.

Halejian is the fourth player in program history to earn Rookie of the Year honors. The other three are Melissa Colborne (2006-07), Katy Grubbs, (1995-96) and Mary Kalich (1991-92). Colborne and Grubbs also were named Rookie of the Week six times en route to their Rookie of the Year awards.

Polansky earned her second-straight Defensive Player of the Year award, which began in 2008-09. Polansky becomes the second two-time recipient of the honor, joining Columbia’s Sara Yee, who received the award in 2009 and 2010.

Princeton led the League in scoring defense, giving up just 52.8 points per game, and limited opponents to just 35.4 percent from the floor, also a League-best mark. In the latest national rankings, the Tigers are 22nd in scoring defense and 38th in field goal percentage defense. Polansky was a key cog in Princeton’s defense, finishing the regular season tied for second in the League with 2.4 steals per game. She averaged 4.0 rebounds per game and twice recorded double-digits in rebounding. She also dished out 2.4 assists per contest.

Harvard sophomore Christine Clark (Tucson, Ariz.) is the only first-time recipient of first-team All-Ivy honors this season, as she is joined by four former selections in teammate Brogan Berry (Beavercreek, Ohio), Rasheed, Princeton senior Lauren Edwards (Los Angeles) and Yale junior Megan Vasquez (Merrick, N.Y.)

Clark was a unanimous selection to the 2010-11 all-rookie team, which no longer is awarded. In 2011-12, she led her team in scoring, averaging 15.2 points per game, while recording 5.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals. She ranks third in the League in free throw percentage (84.8), fifth in scoring and 10th in steals. Clark led Harvard with a career-best three double-doubles.

Berry becomes only the fourth student-athlete in Harvard history to be named All-Ivy League four times in her career, joining Allison Feaster, Hana Peljto and Reka Cserny. She was an honorable mention selection as a freshman in 2009, a second team honoree as a sophomore in 2010 and has earned first team honors in each of the least two seasons. Berry was also named the 2009 Ivy League Rookie of the Year. She led the League in 2011-12 in assists (4.3), assist-turnover ratio (1.9) and free throw percentage (86.3). During the season, Berry became the first student-athlete in Ivy League history to record 1,400 points and 500 assists. She is just the 49th student-athlete in NCAA women’s basketball history to accomplish the feat.

For the second time in three years, Rasheed and Edwards were both named to the first team (2009-10), but this year marks the first time either were unanimous selections. It marks the second-straight season that two Tigers were unanimously voted to the first team, as Micir and Devona Allgood were the unanimous selections in 2010-11. For Edwards, the award is the fourth All-Ivy honor of her career, as she was named first team last season and all-rookie as a freshman. In 2011-12, the senior averaged 11.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.8 assists for the League champion Tigers.

Vasquez earned her second-straight first team award to become one of only six Yale players to earn first team honors more than once in her career, and the first to do so since Mary Kalich in 1992-93 and 1993-94. Vasquez led her team and finished third in the League with nine 20-point performances. She averaged 15.3 points for the season, fourth-best in the conference, and also ranked second in free throw percentage (84.8), fourth in three-pointers (1.8) and ninth in three-point percentage (33.3).

2010-11 Ivy League Rookie of the Year Alyssa Baron (Miami) of Penn highlights the All-Ivy second team. The sophomore led the League in scoring for the second-straight year, averaging 16.9 points per game in 2011-12. She is joined on the second team by Brown junior Sheila Dixon (Schenectady, N.Y.), Dartmouth junior Faziah Steen (Detroit), Harvard junior Victoria Lippert (San Diego) and Princeton senior Devona Allgood (Huntersville, N.C.)

For Lippert, it marks the third-straight season she was named to the second team, while Dixon and Steen each earned their second-consecutive second team honor. Allgood receives her fourth Ivy League postseason award after being named to the first team in 2010-11, the second team in 2009-10 and the rookie team in 2008-09.

The 2011-12 honorable mention squad features Yale senior Michelle Cashen (Belle Harbor, N.Y.), who took home her third-straight All-Ivy honor. Cornell junior Clare Fitzpatrick (Southbury, Conn.) and Brown senior Hannah Passafuime (Soquel, Calif.) each received their second honorable mention accolades. They are joined by first-time All-Ivy recipients Columbia junior Tyler Simpson (Lawrenceville, N.J.) and Cornell sophomore Allyson DiMagno (Fairport, N.Y.)

Player of the Year
*Niveen Rasheed, Princeton, (Jr., F, Danville, Calif.)

Rookie of the Year
Sarah Halejian, Yale (Fr., G, Wyckoff, N.J.)

Defensive Player of the Year
Lauren Polansky, Princeton (Jr., G, Mill Valley, Calif.)

First-Team All-Ivy
Brogan Berry, Harvard (Sr., G, Beavercreek, Ohio)
Christine Clark, Harvard (So., G, Tucson, Ariz.)
*Lauren Edwards, Princeton (Sr., G, Los Angeles)
*Niveen Rasheed, Princeton (Jr., F, Danville, Calif.)
Megan Vasquez, Yale (Jr., G, Merrick, N.Y.)

Second-Team All-Ivy
Sheila Dixon, Brown (Jr., G, Schenectady, N.Y.)
Faziah Steen, Dartmouth (Jr., G, Detroit)
Victoria Lippert, Harvard (Jr., F, San Diego)
Alyssa Baron, Penn (So., G, Miami)
Devona Allgood, Princeton (Sr., F, Huntersville, N.C.)

Honorable Mention All-Ivy
Hannah Passafuime, Brown (Sr., G, Soquel, Calif.)
Tyler Simpson, Columbia (Jr., G/F, Lawrenceville, N.J.)
Allyson DiMagno, Cornell (So., G, Fairport, N.Y.)
Clare Fitzpatrick, Cornell (Jr., F, Southbury, Conn.)
Michelle Cashen, Yale (Sr., F, Belle Harbor, N.Y.)

* Unanimous Selection