March 2, 2012
Hartford, Conn. - St. John's senior forward Da'Shena Stevens was selected as the 2012 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Women's Basket ball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She was selected by the Conference's Academic Affairs Committee and received the award at Friday's BIG EAST postseason awards press conferences held in between the tournament's first round sessions at the XL Center in Hartford.
Stevens, a three-time All-BIG EAST selection and the 2012 BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award recipient is the first-ever student-athlete from St. John's to earn the league's top women's basketball academic honor. The Stamford, Conn., native will receive a $2,000 scholarship, which may be applied to graduate or professional studies.
On Thursday, Stevens was named to the BIG EAST's all-conference second team, her third-straight league honor. Stevens' 2012 second team honor is her third-consecutive BIG EAST postseason accolade. She was on the 2010 first team and 2011 second team as well as the 2009 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. Stevens was also selected to the Naismith Early Season Watch List for the third-straight season.
The American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year award is one of a number of scholarships presented by the BIG EAST Conference and American Eagle Outfitters during the 2011-12 academic year. Thirty-two student-athletes (one and one female from each of the BIG EAST's 16 member institutions) will be named as the winners of the American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Institutional Scholar-Athlete Scholarships.
Stevens is in good company on the past list of award winners. Current St. John's assistant coach and former player at Notre Dame Megan Duffy won the scholarship in 2006 and Connecticut's former standout Maya Moore was the award winner for the past two seasons (2010, 2011).
Stevens was the catalyst behind the Red Storm's best BIG EAST finish (13-3) since St. John's won the regular-season title in 1984-85 with a team-best 12.6 points per game average in BIG EAST action.
She sat out the first 10 games of the season, rehabilitating an offseason knee surgery. Since Stevens' return to the court, the Red Storm is 16-3 with five wins over top 25 adversaries. Since her return to the starting line up, St. John's boasts a 14-2 record. During St. John's eight-game winning streak, Stevens has been the team's leading scorer averaging 15.4 points per game.
While sidelined with an injury, she helped her teammates on the bench as a mentor. She was a three-time BIG EAST All-Academic team honoree and is active in the community, participating in several service projects. She helped lead the holiday food and toy collection and distribution drive and volunteers twice a month at St. Nick's Men's Shelter and the Providence House Women's Shelter.
Stevens also led the team-sponsored Community Mayor project for area youth and was a Peer Educator for St. John's Student Athlete Advisory Committee. She also maintains a 3.46 cumulative GPA as an accounting major and was a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Candidate.
Stevens has been the face of the St. John's program since she arrived in 2007. In 2011-12, she earned BIG EAST weekly honors three times (Feb. 6, Feb. 13 and Feb. 28) and was a member of the St. John's-Chartwells Classic All-Tournament team in her first weekend back. She led St. John's in scoring six times, with the Red Storm boasting a 5-1 record with Stevens as the leading scorer. She also led the Red Storm in rebounding nine times as St. John's went 8-1 with Stevens as the top rebounder.
Going into this weekend's BIG EAST tournament, Stevens ranks in six of St. John's career record categories. She is No. 6 in all-time scoring (1,457 points), No. 3 in all-time rebounds (795), No. 3 in free throws made (338), No. 4 in field goals (558), No. 6 in field goal attempts (1,250) and No. 1 in free throw attempts (601).
On Thursday, three of Stevens' teammates were also honored for their 2011-12 accomplishments as junior Shenneika Smith was named to the All-BIG EAST first team, classmate Nadirah McKenith earned all-second team honors and rookie forward Amber Thompson was named to the BIG EAST All-Freshman team.
Also announced Friday, head coach Kim Barnes Arico was named the 2012 BIG EAST Coach of the Year. It was Barnes Arico's second time as the league's top coach and the announcement came a day after she was tabbed to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's top 10 watch list for national coach of the year.
With the No. 2 seed, in the 2012 BIG EAST Conference Championships St. John's and will have a double bye to the Quarterfinals. The Red Storm will play the winner of the Louisville vs. Villanova/Seton hall match up on Sunday, March 4. Tip off is slated for 6 p.m. (ET).