Caitlin Clark named Big Ten Player of the Year by coaches and media
Iowa center Monika Czinano named first-team all-Big Ten, McKenna Warnock a second-team selection
ROSEMONT, Illinois — The Big Ten Conference announced its 2021-22 women’s basketball all-conference teams and individual award recipients Tuesday live on the Big Ten Network’s “B1G Today” show.
Iowa sophomore guard Caitlin Clark was chosen as Big Ten Player of the Year by both the conference coaches and a select panel of Big Ten media members, marking the fourth time in five seasons and eighth time overall that a Hawkeye has earned that honor. Clark is the first underclass player selected as Big Ten Player of the Year since 2015, when Ohio State freshman Kelsey Mitchell and Minnesota sophomore Amanda Zahui B. shared the award from the coaches and media, respectively. The last outright underclass recipient of the Big Ten Player of the Year honor was Ohio State sophomore Jantel Lavender in 2009.
Nebraska forward Alexis Markowski was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, while Michigan’s Kim Barnes Arico was selected as the Big Ten Coach of the Year. Northwestern junior guard Veronica Burton earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors for the third consecutive season, while Maryland freshman guard Shyanne Sellers was voted the Big Ten’s Sixth Player of the Year.
Clark, a native of West Des Moines, Iowa, is a finalist for every major national player of the year award, leading the nation in scoring for the second consecutive season (27.5 ppg.) and also setting the pace in assists (8.3 apg.) this year, something no NCAA Division I women’s basketball player has ever done for an entire campaign — the only men’s basketball player to accomplish the feat was Oklahoma’s Trae Young in 2017-18. In addition, Clark has a conference-record (and NCAA-leading) five triple-doubles this season and six for her career, which ties the Big Ten all-time record held by former Iowa standout Samantha Logic (2011-15).
Markowski is the second Husker chosen as Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and the first since Jessica Shepard in 2016. Hailing from Lincoln, Neb., Markowski was an eight-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week this season — tying for third-most in conference history — and leads all Big Ten freshmen in scoring (13.0 ppg.), rebounding (7.9 rpg.) and double-doubles (6).
Arico earns her second Big Ten Coach of the Year award, both in the past six seasons, having previously been recognized in 2017. Under her leadership, Michigan has been ranked in the top 10 nationally nearly every week this season, including program records for the highest-ever rankings in both major national polls (No. 4), and the Wolverines have appeared in all three of the NCAA’s regular-season top-16 seed reveals (most recently noted as the No. 8 national seed on Monday night). Arico has also been named to the Naismith Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List.
Burton enters seldom-seen territory as just the second three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, joining Penn State’s Tanisha Wright (2003-05). A semifinalist for the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year award (and the only guard remaining on that list), the Newton, Mass., product leads the nation in steals (4.11 spg.) after winning that statistical national championship last year. With 111 total steals this season, she is also 10th on the Big Ten single-season list with the most thefts by a conference player since 2016-17, when former NU guard Ashley Deary had 118. Burton currently ranks second in Big Ten history with 388 career steals behind only Deary (429).
Sellers is the third Maryland student-athlete to receive the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year honor and the first since Ieshia Small in 2018. Sellers is also the seventh freshman, and the third in the past four seasons, to be named Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year since the award was first presented in 2006. A resident of Aurora, Ohio, Sellers was a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week this season and is averaging 7.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while coming off the bench in 19 of 28 games for the Terrapins to date.
Clark and Michigan senior forward Naz Hillmon were unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selections by both the coaches and media, while Burton, Michigan State senior guard Nia Clouden and Ohio State junior guard Jacy Sheldon were unanimous first-team choices by the media. Burton was also a unanimous selection to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team by both the coaches and media, while Markowski was unanimously voted to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team by the coaches.
The Big Ten also recognized 14 Sportsmanship Award recipients in the sport of women’s basketball on Tuesday, one from each conference school. The students chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These students must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
The complete All-Big Ten teams, as well as a list of other honorees can be found on the attached PDF.
All 13 games of this year’s Big Ten Tournament from March 2-6 will be televised live to a national audience, with the Big Ten Network carrying the first 12 games from the first-round contests on Wednesday through Saturday’s semifinals. All BTN games can also be seen live on the FOX Sports app.
Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament championship game will be televised live on ESPN2 and will also be available on the ESPN app.
This year’s Big Ten Tournament champion will earn the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Follow all the Big Ten Tournament action on the official Tournament Central web site at bigten.org/WBBT and on Twitter @B1GWBBall (use the hashtags #B1GTourney and #B1GWBBall).