Cullop named MAC Coach of the Year; three Rockets earn all-league accolades

March 9, 2011 | News, UToday
By Brian DeBenedictis



Toledo Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop was named the 2010-11 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, the league office announced Tuesday.

The award is the result of balloting by select members of the media as well as the conference’s head coaches.

Additionally, junior Naama Shafir, senior Melissa Goodall and redshirt freshman Andola Dortch were chosen to all-conference teams. Shafir picked up first-team honors, Goodall earned third-team accolades, and Dortch was selected to the all-freshman squad. The All-MAC and All-Freshman teams are the results of voting by the league’s head coaches.

Cullop earns the Coach of the Year recognition for the second time in her first three years at UT after guiding the Midnight Blue and Gold to their first MAC regular-season championship since 2003 and first outright crown since 2001. The Rockets’ 14-2 conference slate ties the second-best mark in school history since the MAC went to the 16-game league slate beginning in the 1998-99 season.

Her honor marks the eighth time in school history that a Toledo coach has earned the league award. Mark Ehlen picked up the MAC Coach of the Year trophy in 1996-97, 1998-99, 2000-01 and 2002-03, while Bill Fennelly earned the honor following the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. In three seasons patrolling the UT sidelines, Cullop ranks second in MAC history with a 37-11 (.771) league record, trailing only fellow Rocket Bill Fennelly’s 94-24 (.797) conference mark.

Shafir, left, Goodall, center, and Dortch

Shafir, left, Goodall, center, and Dortch

Shafir becomes the 13th Rocket to garner first-team accolades and is pacing the team in scoring (14.4 points per game) and assists (5.2 assists per game). The Hoshaya, Israel, native has tallied double figures a team-high 24 times and dished out at least six helpers a squad-best 12 times this season.

The three-time All-MAC honoree currently ranks third in the league in assists (tied for 32nd in the NCAA as of March 7), 10th in assist/turnover ratio (1.03), 13th in scoring, 15th in field-goal percentage (44.0 percent, 136 of 309) and 29th in minutes played (30.03).

Shafir, a two-time MAC West Division Player of the Week, raised her production level to a higher mark during league contests, averaging 16.3 points (seventh-best in conference) and 4.6 dimes (sixth-best in the league). She shot 46.5 percent (86 of 185, 11th in the conference) from the floor against conference opponents, including an impressive 47.8 percent (22 of 46) from beyond the arc, and 73.6 percent (67 of 91, fourth in free throws in the conference) from the charity stripe.

Goodall is tallying 13.4 points, a team-high 7.0 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 0.9 steals in a squad-best 30.8 minutes per contest. She is currently sixth in the MAC in blocked shots, 10th in overall rebounding, 11th in offensive caroms (2.76 rebounds per game), 13th in field-goal percentage (44.9 percent, 149 of 332) and defensive caroms (4.28 rebound per game), 15th in scoring and 21st in minutes played. She has scored in double figures 23 times this season, including a career-high 28 points vs. Central Michigan March 2 to earn MAC West Division Player of the Week accolades for the first time in 2010-11 and second time in her career.

In MAC contests, the 2009-10 honorable mention All-MAC honoree contributed 12.7 points, a team-high 7.8 boards, 1.1 rejections and 1.3 thefts.

Dortch is averaging 6.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and a team-high 1.7 steals in 22.0 minutes per game. She currently ranks eighth in the MAC in free-throw percentage (79.0 percent, 64 of 81) and 12th in steals. The Akron native, who sat out the 2009-10 campaign with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, also has registered at least three assists on nine occasions this season.

She has started the last 13 games and continued her trend of impressive play, tallying 8.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and a team-high 2.0 thefts in 29.1 minutes per contest.

Toledo will begin its quest to claim the 2011 MAC Tournament crown Wednesday, March 9, when the Rockets battle Akron in Quicken Loans Arena. Tip-off time is slated for approximately 5 p.m.

Should the 2010-11 MAC regular-season champions make it to the semifinals, the Rockets would face the winner of No. 4 seed Kent State or No. 5 seed Eastern Michigan Friday, March 11, at 2:30 p.m.

The championship game is scheduled for Saturday, March 12, at 1 p.m.

The semifinals and the finals will be televised on SportsTime Ohio.

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