PHILADELPHIA – Saint Joseph’s sophomore guard Ashley Prim (Ansonia, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral) was named Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Sixth Player of the Year, while junior guard Michelle Baker (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) and freshman guard Erin Shields (Drexel Hill, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) were selected to the A-10 All-Defensive Team and A-10 All-Rookie Team, respectively, conference officials announced on Wednesday.
Leading the Hawks in assists (91) and free throws made (73), Prim is the first Saint Joseph’s player to earn A-10 Sixth Player of the Year accolades. An A-10 All-Rookie Team selection a year ago, the point guard has bolstered the Hawks’ bench, leading all reserves in scoring (5.9 points per game), while ranking second overall in steals (29). Appearing in all 28 games this season, Prim has excelled in conference play, averaging 7.0 points per game, while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor (26-of-58). She enters this week’s Atlantic 10 Tournament ranking third in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9) and tied for 12th in assists per game (3.2).
The anchor of Saint Joseph’s defense, Baker has helped the Hawks limit opponents to just 57.1 points per game and 36.4 percent shooting. Relied upon to guard the opposing team’s top perimeter player, Baker has thrived as a starter this year, averaging a career-high 1.25 steals per game, while matching her career-best in blocks with five. Backed by Baker, Saint Joseph’s currently ranks fourth in the A-10 in points allowed and field goal percentage defense. Averaging a career-high 12.4 points and 33.2 minutes per game, Baker is just the second Hawk to be named to the A-10 All-Defensive Team, joining 2004 honoree Stephanie McCaffrey (nee Graff). She is joined by La Salle’s Ashley Gale, Richmond’s Brittani Shells, Temple’s Shey Peddy and A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Ta’Shia Phillips of Xavier on the A-10 All-Defensive Team.
The 13th Hawk to be named to the A-10 All-Rookie Team, Shields has made an immediate impact for SJU, proving to be one of the more versatile newcomers in the conference. Earning the start in each of the past 22 games, she leads all Saint Joseph’s rookies in scoring (7.2 ppg) and ranks second on the team in assists (87), three-point field goals (40) and three-point field goal percentage (38.1 percent). Shields enters the A-10 Tournament averaging 8.9 points and 3.7 assists per conference game, and has handed out an assist in 27 of 28 games this year. She is joined by Charlotte’s Gabby Tyler, La Salle’s Jess Koci, Duquesne’s Orsi Szecso and A-10 Rookie of the Year, Wumi Agunbiade of Duquesne on the A-10 All-Rookie Team
The head coaches of the 14 Atlantic 10 institutions voted on the postseason honors.
Saint Joseph's (18-10) faces La Salle Friday at noon in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. This year's tournament is being held at the The Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass.