DURHAM, N.C. – The 2016-17 season officially came to a close Wednesday evening for the Duke University women’s basketball team as the Blue Devils held their annual celebration on campus. With approximately 200 people in attendance at the event emceed by Ryan Craig, Duke gave out 12 awards.
Taking home four accolades on the evening was redshirt junior Lexie Brown, while sophomore Kyra Lambert added three and redshirt junior Rebecca Greenwell was presented with two awards.
There were three statistical awards given out -- Best Rebounder, Best Free Throw Shooter and Assist Maker. Other awards that were presented were Player of the Year, Most Improved, Making Plays, M.M.O.C. (Meanest Mother on the Court), Sixth Player, CNC (Choice Not Chance) Scholar-Athlete, Best Defender and Senior Award.
Brown was presented with the Player of the Year, Making Plays, Assist Maker and Best Free Throw Shooter awards following her first season with the Blue Devils. An Associated Press third team All-America and First Team All-ACC selection in 2016-17, Brown turned in one of the best all-around seasons in Blue Devil history. She averaged 18.3 points, 3.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 steals. Brown, who hails from Suwanee, Ga., became just the fourth Blue Devil in school history to collect 200 made field goals and over 100 assists. She hit 92.8 percent of her free throws to rank third nationally and featured an ACC record streak of 56 straight free throws made during the season.
Lambert, a native of Cibolo, Texas, started 33 contests as a sophomore and was named the winner of the Best Defender, CNC Scholar-Athlete and co-winner of the M.M.O.C. The M.M.O.C. award represents the Blue Devil that does the dirty work, including assists, steals and leads the team in floor burns. The 5-9 guard averaged 7.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.7 steals, while earning All-ACC Academic Team honors. She scored double-digits in 11 contests and ranked 12th in assists (3.5) and 12th in steals (1.7) in the ACC statistics. Lambert hit a career-high 23 three-pointers for a 39.7 percentage.
Greenwell received the Best Rebounder and was the co-winner of the M.M.O.C. along with Lambert. A WBCA All-Region and WBCA All-America honorable mention selection, Greenwell turned in a stellar season as a redshirt junior. She averaged 16.4 points, team-best 6.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals. Greenwell drained 83 three-pointers, which was the second-most in Blue Devil history. The All-ACC First Team selection ranked seventh in the ACC in scoring and 13th in rebounding, while matching a Duke single-season record with three 30-point performances.
After making great strides during her junior season, Erin Mathias was presented with the Sixth Player Award. A product of Pittsburgh, Pa., Mathias averaged 3.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists on the year. She made six starts, while playing 34 games.
Senior Kendall Cooper was presented with the Senior Award after completing her four-year career at Duke. Cooper, who is from Carson, Calif., appeared in 110 games over her career and swatted 119 shots. The 6-4 post started 32 games and finished with a 78.2 winning percentage with the Blue Devils, which ranked 34th in Duke history.
Receiving the Most Improved Player award was rookie Leaonna Odom. The All-ACC Freshman team selection averaged 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocked shots. In the NCAA Tournament first round, Odom collected a career-high 23 points against Hampton to become the eighth Blue Devil freshman to score 20 or more points in a NCAA Tournament contest. Odom, a native of Lompoc, Calif., ranked sixth in the ACC in scoring and tied sixth in rebounding among league rookies.
The Player of the Year, Most Improved, Sixth Player, Playmaker, Never Give Up and Best Defender awards were voted on by team members and coaches.
Duke honored two seniors – Cooper and Oderah Chidom – during the evening. As a team, Duke collected a 28-6 overall and 13-3 ACC mark under the direction of head coach Joanne P. McCallie. The Blue Devils went from unranked in the preseason Associated Press poll to No. 9 in the final ranking, which was a Duke record. The 28 wins were eight better than the previous season, which is the second-best jump in Blue Devil history. Duke went on to advance to the NCAA Tournament second round before falling to Oregon.
Full list of award winners:
Player of the Year: Lexie Brown
Senior Award: Kendall Cooper
Most Improved Player: Leaonna Odom
Making Plays Award: Lexie Brown
Best Defender Award: Kyra Lambert
M.M.O.C: Becca Greenwell and Kyra Lambert
Best Rebounder: Becca Greenwell
CNC Scholar-Athlete Award: Kyra Lambert
Sixth Player: Erin Mathias
Assist Maker: Lexie Brown
Best Free Throw Shooter: Lexie Brown