On Monday, the ACC released its winners for annual awards for the 2017 season. The Panthers, as expected, had plenty of recognition.
Starting at the top, head coach Dan Fisher won the Coach of the Year award. He led Pitt to an ACC championship as the Panthers shared the honor with Louisville. I thought that Cardinals coach Dani Busboom Kelly might win this since Louisville was only picked to finish near the middle of the conference in the preseason while Pitt was third but it’s obviously deserved since Fisher did a great job.
Pitt also placed three players on the All ACC First Team in Nika Markovic, Stephanie Williams, and Kamalani Akeo. I wasn’t surprised by any of those picks and it would have been a snub had one not been on. There are only 14 spots so it’s tough to get three players on (Pitt was the only team to do that) but all three belonged.
Finally, freshmen starters Kayla Lund and Chinaza Ndee both made the All Freshman team. Again, no real surprise there. There are only nine spots on that team but both started for the team and were multiple Freshman of the Week award winners. Pitt and Duke were the only teams to place two freshmen on the team.
The biggest snub in my mind was that Lund was not named Rookie of the Year. As I wrote earlier, Lund won the Freshman of the Week award an astonishing four times and no one else had won it more than twice. She ended up losing the award to Florida State middle Taryn Knuth. Knuth led the league in blocks and has no doubt been a force. But she’d also only won Freshman of the Week once and Lund is playing for the better team.
I don’t know if it was about not wanting the awards to be too Pitt-centric. If you look at the awards, there’s a case for that, I suppose. Pitt’s coach won Coach of the Year. They had the most All ACC First Teamers and also tied for the most players on the Freshmen Team. Still, based on how she dominated the weekly awards, I was really surprised to see Lund not win it.
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