WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., March 4, 2012- Florida A&M senior guard Antonia Bennett was named the 2012 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Player of the Year as announced by the conference on Sunday. Delaware State's Tierra Hawkins was selected as Rookie of the Year and Florida A&M's Qiana Donald garnered the Defensive Player of the Year honor.
Florida A&M Head Coach LeDawn Gibson was named the MEAC Coach of the Year. All awards are voted on by the conference's head women's basketball coaches and sports information directors.
Bennett averaged 18.1 points and 9.6 rebounds to aid her team to a 14-2 conference record and 21-7 overall mark. She concluded the regular season second in the conference in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. The senior is also ranked 18th in the nation with 14 double-doubles and moved into 15th in scoring all-time in MEAC women's basketball with 1,641 points.
Hawkins totaled 42 steals and averaged 14.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and in 29 games for the Lady Hornets. The rookie leads her team in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage (43.5). Starting in 28 of 29 games, Hawkins posted six double-doubles, including six 10-plus rebound outings and five 20-plus point performances.
Donald averaged 8.9 rebounds and totaled 44 steals in 28 games for the Lady Rattlers. The senior recorded eight double-double performances to a second place finish in the conference regular season standings. Offensively, she added 11.2 points while shooting 50-percent from the field and 63-percent from the free-throw line.
Gibson earned Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Florida A&M Lady Rattlers to a 21-7 mark and 14-2 record in conference play. The 20-plus wins were a first for the Lady Rattlers since the 1996-97 season. In her fourth year at the helm, Gibson's team had the top scoring offense in the conference averaging 72.1 points per game. During the regular season, the Lady Rattlers held a conference high 14 game winning streak which stretched from mid-December to early January.
Bennett is joined on the 2012 All-MEAC First Team by Hampton's Jericka Jenkins, Howard teammates Tamoria Holmes and Saadia Doyle and Coppin State's Jeanine Manley.
The two time defending MEAC champion Hampton Lady Pirates clinched the MEAC regular-season title with an 86-35 win over North Carolina Central. The Lady Pirates will enter the tournament as the number one seed and will face the winner of the No. 8/No. 9 matchup on Wednesday, March 7 at Noon.
The 2012 regular season champion, regular-season runners-up, first-team members and top honorees including Player, Rookie, Defensive and Coach of the Year selections, will be recognized in pre-game presentations prior to their first games of the 2012 MEAC Basketball Tournament. Tournament play tips-off March 5-10 at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.