Saint Joseph’s van Grinsven, Griffin, Shields and Cloud Honored By Big 5
PHILADELPHIA - Capping a memorable season that included winning the Atlantic 10 title and playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in over a decade, four Saint Joseph's Hawks were recognized for their performances throughout the season by the Philadelphia Big 5. Saint Joseph's redshirt senior Chatilla van Grinsven (Helmond, Netherlands/Dr. Knippenberg) was selected Big 5 Player of the Year and All-Big 5 First Team honoree, while head coach Cindy Griffin was named Big 5 Coach of the Year. Junior Erin Shields (Drexel Hill, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) earned Most Improved Player honors and joins redshirt sophomore Natasha Cloud (Broomall, Pa./Cardinal O’Hara) on the All-Big 5 Second Team.
Leading SJU in scoring and rebounding, van Grinsven made a memorable impact in her lone season on Hawk Hill. An A-10 All-Conference First Team selection, the starting forward posted 16 double-doubles this season, and averaged 14.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, becoming just the fifth player in team history to average a double-double for the season. The 10th Hawk to be named to Big 5 Player of the Year, and first since Susan Moran in 2001-02, van Grinsven etched her name in the SJU record books in several categories as her 333 rebounds were third most in a single season, while her 47 blocked shots tied for fourth. A six-time Big 5 Player of the Week, van Grinsven ended the season leading the Hawks in scoring 19 times and rebounding 26 times. Scoring over 1,000 career points combined at Colorado State and SJU, she was also named to the A-10 Championship All-Tournament Team, Hawk Classic All-Tournament Team and Gator Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team.
Leading her alma mater to its first conference crown since 1999, Griffin guided the Hawks to a 23-9 record and 4-1 marks against city schools this season. Under her direction, Saint Joseph's posted memorable wins over #5 Maryland and #11 Dayton, culminating with a 47-46 victory over Fordham in the A-10 title game at the Barclays Center. With the Hawks appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Griffin joined an elite group of just eight people who have led their alma mater to the NCAA Tournament both as a player and a coach. Finishing her 15th season as a head coach, Griffin has compiled a 271-189 record between Loyola (Md.) and Saint Joseph's, with 223 wins coming at Hawk Hill over the past 12 seasons. She is also the first Saint Joseph’s coach to be named Big 5 Coach of the Year.
One of the top perimeter threats in the A-10, Shields became just the second Hawk to be named Big 5 Most Improved Player. Averaging 6.8 points per game and hitting just 38 three pointers last season, Shields thrived as a starter this year, scoring 11.4 points per game and converting a career-best 73 three point field goals. The All-Big 5 Second Team selection led the Hawks in scoring six times this season, and finished second in the conference in three-pointers made. Shields joins Ashley Logue (2009-10) as the only two Hawks to be named Most Improved Player by the Big 5.
The anchor of Saint Joseph's defense, Cloud proved to be one of the more versatile players in the city. Relied upon to guard the opposing team's top perimeter player, Cloud led SJU in steals (57) and tied for second in blocked shots (17) in her first season with the Hawks. Starting 30 games and appearing in all 32, she posted a career-best 9.2 points per game, and finished second on the team in rebounds (148). An A-10 All-Defensive Team selection, she scored a game-high 17 points in the A-10 title game against Fordham, earning Most Outstanding Player of the Championship in the process.
Joining van Grinsven on the All-Big 5 First Team are Laura Sweeney of Villanova, Alyssa Baron of Penn, Victoria Macaulay of Temple and La Salle’s Brittany Wilson. Cloud and Shields are joined on the All-Big 5 Second Team by Temple’s Tyonna Williams, La Salle’s Shanel Harrison and Rachel Roberts of Villanova.