BOSTON – For the first time the GNAC Women's Basketball Rookie of the Year hails from Suffolk University as Alexis Hackett was a unanimous selection anchoring a trio of Rams earning all-league accolades, the conference office announced Monday. Hackett is joined by seniors Georgia Bourikas and Kelsey Schiebel, who each picked up third-team nods.
The trio has helped the Rams to the most victories against conference competition (12-4) since joining the GNAC ranks in 1995 and its 22nd straight GNAC post-season appearance, all of which came under the guidance of Ed Leyden. Suffolk, who wrapped up the season 17-9 overall, opened up second semester with an eight-game win streak, marking the most victories in a row for the Rams since matching that number Jan. 17-Feb.5. The second semester start is the best for Suffolk since stringing 11 triumphs together to open the latter portion of the Rams' slate in 2000-01
Hackett, who earned a program-record six GNAC Corvias Rookie of the Week awards and was named the best rookie over a seven day stretch by the New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) twice, was an unanimous Rookie of the Year selection. She is the first member of the Rams to garner the award.
The Charlton, Massachusetts, native made an impact on each end of the court this season. In just 21.4 minutes per outing, the freshman contributed 8.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game to the Rams' 17 victories. In 25 appearances, Hackett reached double-figures in scoring 12 times and in rebounding twice. The 5-foot-11 small forward led the team in offensively (points) and defensively (rebounds) three times throughout the year.
First time honorees Bourikas and Schiebel are the first pair of Rams on the all-conference team together since Jennifer Ruys '14 (first-team) and Iliana Quardi '15 (third-team) in 2013-14. The twosome led Suffolk in scoring throughout their senior seasons with the former providing 10.3 ppg and the latter leading the way on 10.4 ppg. The backcourt duo was crucial ingredients to the league's most potent team outside the arc with Bourikas knocking down 41.5 percent of triples attempted and Schiebel putting together a 39.0 connection rate from downtown.
Bourikas, who calls Hull, Massachusetts home, had a career campaign in 2016-17, posting career bests in field goal percentage (39.3), three-point percentage (41.5), rebounds (5.4 rpg), assists (2.6 apg) and blocks (0.5 bpg). She racked up double figures in 13 games pacing the Rams in scoring six times and recorded her first and only collegiate double-double, an 11-point, 11-carom effort in a 61-50 win over Lasell Feb. 2.
Schiebel, meanwhile, will graduate as one of just four Rams in the program's history to not only play in, but start over 100 games throughout her career, joining the likes of Quadri (112 GP/110 GS), Jacqueline Vienneau '13 (110 GP/108 GS) and Katie Librandi '02 (105 GP/ 103GS). In her 107 appearances, 102 of which she appeared in the starting lineup, she registered double digits in scoring 35 times, including a career-day of 29 points in 79-62 victory at Pine Manor Jan. 5, 2017. This season she led the way eighth times finishing 85 points shy of the 1,000-point milestone. The 5-foot-3 guard, who hails from Windham, New Hampshire, has also been critical in Suffolk's offense throughout her career, dishing out 290 assists with 83 this year.
Bourikas and Schiebel's classmate Alexandra Clarke represented the blue-and-gold on the All-Sportsmanship team, which was established to honor one player from each team in the conference for outstanding dedication to sportsmanship and for their portrayal of good sportsmanship, fair play and positive attitude.
Adding to their individual awards, Suffolk was recognized with the Institutional Sportsmanship Award for the first time since the award was handed out in 2013.
Since 1996, when the conference first established the awards, Suffolk has earned 28 All-GNAC honors including nine first team, six second team and 11 third team selections.
2016-17 ALL-GNAC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
Player of the Year – Kelsi McNamara, Saint Joseph's of Maine
Defensive Player of the Year – Savanna Butterfield, Rivier
Rookie of the Year – Alexis Hackett, Suffolk
Coach of the Year – Mike McDevitt, Saint Joseph's of Maine
Institutional Sportsmanship Award – Suffolk University
Olivia Bolden, Albertus Magnus
Raquel Pederzani, Johnson & Wales
Ashley Thompson, Johnson & Wales
Heather LeBlanc, Norwich
Kelsi McNamara, St. Joseph's (Maine)
Liz Falcigno, Albertus Magnus
Jen Chalk, Emmanuel
Savanna Butterfield, Rivier
Caitlyn Perry, Rivier
Emily Benway, St. Joseph's (Maine)
Megan Thornton, Albertus Magnus
Kayla Odehaard, Anna Maria
Sasha Puglisi, Emmanuel
Kimberly Viafara, Johnson & Wales
Jaime Caron, Lasell
Angelique Martinez, Mount Ida
Jenna Alexander, Norwich
Kayla Davis, Rivier
Abbie Eastman, St. Joseph's (Maine)
Rajeen Mayo, St. Joseph (Conn.)
Alexandra Clarke, Suffolk