MANSFIELD, Mass. – The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) announced its 2019-20 Women's Basketball All-Conference teams and major award winners on Tuesday morning. The awards were voted on by the conference's eight coaches following the conclusion of the regular season. Six conference schools are represented on the all-conference teams, while all eight placed a student-athlete on the Del Malloy Sportsmanship Team. Eastern Nazarene College led the way with three of the four major awards, as well as three all-conference honorees.
Eastern Nazarene sophomore guard Stevie Orton (Gilford, N.H.) was voted the 2019-20 NECC Player of the Year, while her teammate Jenn Burnham (West Valley City, Utah) earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. Becker freshman forward Natasha Pacheco (Fairfax, Va.) was named Rookie of the Year. Eastern Nazarene head coach Sacha Santimano was voted Coach of the Year by her peers.
Orton headlines the first team All-Conference selections, and is joined by her teammate Kyra Fleharty (Lewistown, Mont.). Dean College is represented on the first team by sophomore Makayla Rudder (Springfield, Mass.). Mitchell College's Amina Wiley (New Rochelle, N.Y.) and New England College's Rene Hudson (Gallatin, Tenn.) round out the first team.
The second team features two major award winners, in Burnham and Pacheco. Senior Cassidy Harrison (Foxborough, Mass.) of Becker was also honored with a second team accolade. Lesley University senior Dakota Jones (Torrance, Calif.). was selected, as was Mitchell's Kelsey Hernandez (New Britain, Conn.).
NECC Player of the Year – Stevie Orton, Eastern Nazarene (So., G, Gilford, N.H.)
In her sophomore campaign, Orton led the Lions to a 13-and-1 regular season conference record, and the number one seed in the NECC Women's Basketball Championship. A consistent presence on the Lions' offensive end, Orton was in the top-10 in the league in several statistical categories, including points per game (15.4), rebounds per game (6.0) and field goal percentage (47.5). Orton also shot 80 percent from the free throw line in league contests, which led the NECC. She was a two-time 2019-20 NECC Player of the Week selection (weeks ending 11/24/19 and 12/1/19).
NECC Defensive Player of the Year – Jenn Burnham, Eastern Nazarene (Sr., G, West Valley City, Utah)
Senior Jenn Burnham was the leader of an Eastern Nazarene defense that only allowed conference opponents to score a league-best 47.7 points per game. The senior's leadership on the defensive end helped the Lions to a 13-and-1 record, and a first place finish in regular season play. Burnham was relied upon to lockdown their opponents top guard. She was a one-time 2019-20 NECC Player of the Week selection (week ending 11/1/19).
NECC Rookie of the Year- Natasha Pacheco, Becker (Fr., F., Fairfax, Va.)
Freshman Natasha Pacheco was integral in Becker's success, helping the Hawks to a 9-and-5 conference record, and a No. 4 seed in the NECC Championship. In her rookie season, Pacheco nearly averaged a double-double in league play, scoring 8.2 points per game and pulling down 12.4 boards. Her 12.4 rebounds was good for second in the league. She earned NECC Rookie of the Week honors three times (weeks ending 11/17/19, 1/26/20, 2/2/20).
NECC Coach of the Year – Sacha Santimano, Eastern Nazarene
Head coach Sacha Santimano led Eastern Nazarene to a 13-and-1 conference record, the regular season crown and the No. 1 seed in the NECC Women's Basketball Championship. The Lions' were stellar defensively under Santimano's tutelage, allowing conference opponents to score only 47.7 points per game, which led the league. The Lions placed three players on the all-conference teams. This is Santimano's first NECC Coach of the Year award.
First Team All-NECC
Makayla Rudder, Dean (So., G/F, Springfield, Mass.)
Kyra Fleharty, Eastern Nazarene (Sr., F, Lewistown, Mont.)
Stevie Orton, Eastern Nazarene (So., G, Gilford, N.H.)
Amina Wiley, Mitchell (So., F, New Rochelle, N.Y.)
Rene Hudson, New England Col. (Sr., G, Gallatin, Tenn.)
Second Team All-NECC
Cassidy Harrison, Becker (Sr., G, Foxborough, Mass.)
Natasha Pacheco, Becker (Fr., F, Fairfax, Va.)
Jenn Burnham, Eastern Nazarene (Sr., G, West Valley City, Utah)
Dakota Jones, Lesley (Sr., F, Torrance, Calif.)
Kelsey Hernandez, Mitchell (Sr., G, New Britain, Conn.)
Del Malloy Sportsmanship Team
Ashley Alcantara, Bay Path (Fr., F, Lowell, Mass.)
Sarah Ware, Becker (Sr., F, Oakham, Mass.)
Taishe Alexandre, Dean (Sr., G, Quincy, Mass.)
Seniesha Sekaquaptewa, Eastern Nazarene (Jr., G, Second Mesa, Ariz.)
Rachel Granger, Elms (Sr., G, Hampden, Mass.)
Skylar Moore, Lesley (So., G, Chelsea, Mass.)
Leilani McClellan, Mitchell (So., G, Bozrah, Conn.)
Haleigh Martin, New England College (Sr., G, Bergenfield, N.J.)
ABOUT THE NECC
The NECC began competition in the 2008-09 academic year and current member institutions compete across 15 sports. The NECC membership focuses on providing athletic competition among institutions that share similar academic aspirations and are committed to the importance of the total educational experience for students engaged in sports. Current members include Bay Path University, Becker College, Dean College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Lesley University, Mitchell College and New England College.