SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Marist women's basketball team took home three major awards Thursday night at the MAAC Postseason Awards Show at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Junior guard Leanne Ockenden (Syracuse, N.Y.) was named the 2013 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year and redshirt senior Kristina Danella (Manalapan, N.J.) was voted the MAAC Sixth Year of the Year. Head Coach Brian Giorgis was named the 2013 The Rock MAAC Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year.
This is the fourth time Marist has had a Defensive Player of the Year and Ockenden becomes just the second Red Fox to win the award. Marist assistant coach Alisa Kresge (class of 2007) earned the honor in three straight years, sharing the title in 2005 and winning it outright in 2006 and 2007. Ockenden, who on Monday was selected to the All-MAAC Third Team, leads the Red Foxes with a 63 steals this season, including recording a career-high five steals on five separate occasions, and 17 blocks. Ockenden is regularly matched up with the opposition's leading scorer and consistently holds them will under their season average in scoring. On Jan. 11, she held Loyola's Katie Sheahin, the MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, scoreless for the first time in her career.
Danella becomes the third Marist player to be named the Sixth Player of the Year, joining Lynzee Johnson in 2008 and Kristin Keller in 2004. Danella has been one of Marist's most consistent scorers this year, averaging 9.4 points per game, good for third on the team. She is also tied for the team lead with an average of 4.6 rebounds per game. Her .877 free throw percentage and .431 three-point field goal percentage are both good for second in the MAAC. On Feb. 1 versus Canisius, Danella became the 19th player to score her 1,000th career point in a Marist uniform.
Giorgis was named Coach of the Year for a record seventh time in his 11-year career after guiding the Red Foxes to an undefeated 18-0 MAAC regular season for the third time in the past six years. He did so despite losing Marist's top two scorers from a year ago to graduation, and then its two tallest players to season-ending injuries during non-conference play.
The top-seeded Red Foxes will begin their pursuit of an eighth straight MAAC Championship Friday afternoon when it takes on #9 Manhattan in the MAAC quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. Manhattan defeated #8 Loyola 50-49 on Thursday on a buzzer-beating shot by Monica Roeder.