Dortch, Cullop selected MAC Defensive Player, Coach of the Year

March 12, 2013 | News, UToday
By Brian DeBenedictis

Toledo junior Andola Dortch and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop were named the 2012-13 Mid-American Conference Defensive Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, the conference office announced Tuesday morning.

Cullop and DortchDortch took home the league’s most prestigious defensive honor for a second straight season, becoming the fourth player in MAC history to earn the award on more than one occasion.

A 2012-13 first-team All-MAC selection, Dortch has collected at least three steals in a game on 12 occasions this season, and she leads the conference in thefts (2.7). Dortch’s 77 steals also sit ninth most in school history in a single season, with her 206 career thefts ranking fifth in Toledo annals.

Besides being the Rockets’ defensive specialist, Dortch has transformed herself into a dangerous offensive threat. She is contributing 11.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in a squad-best 30.1 minutes per game. The two-time All-MAC selection ranks sixth in the MAC in assist/turnover ratio (1.4), ninth in helpers, 13th in scoring, 14th in three-point field-goal percentage (30.9 percent, 34 of 110), tied for 14th in three-point field goals made (1.2) and 15th in free-throw percentage (69.4 percent, 77 of 111).

Dortch has produced double figure points on 16 occasions this season, second-highest total on the squad; this includes a season-high 24 points at Marquette Dec. 15.

Cullop has earned Coach of the Year recognition on three occasions in her first five years at UT, third highest total in league history. She guided the Rockets to their second MAC regular-season championship in the last three seasons and a fourth-consecutive West Division crown. The Rockets’ 15-1 conference slate in 2012-13 also equaled the best ledger in school history.

Toledo has a 27-2 overall mark for its best start in school history. UT’s 27 wins also are tied for second most in school history and tied for sixth most in the MAC record books. The school record is 29 victories during the 2010-11 campaign, while the league record is 31 wins by Bowling Green during the 2006-07 season.

Cullop’s honor also marked the ninth time in school history that a Toledo coach has collected the 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 accepted the honor following the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.

Additionally, senior Naama Shafir finished as runner-up in the Player of the Year balloting to Akron’s Rachel Tecca. The Zips’ post player collected two votes more than Shafir to capture the league’s top honor.

Shafir is averaging a squad-best 12.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, a team-high 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals in 29.6 minutes per game. The 2012-13 first-team All-MAC honoree ranks second in the league in assist/turnover ratio (1.9) and helpers, third in free-throw percentage (80.4 percent, 86 of 107), eighth in scoring, 12th in three-point field-goal percentage (33.7 percent, 34 of 101) and thefts, and tied for 14th in three-point field goals made (1.2).

The four-time All-MAC selection has produced double-figure points a squad-best 21 times in 2012-13, including a season-best 29 points at Central Michigan Feb. 24. Shafir also has poured in at least 20 points on four occasions this season.

The four-time reigning MAC West Division Champion Rockets will take the No. 1 seed into the MAC Tournament in Cleveland. Toledo has earned a bye through the first three rounds of the tourney and will advance to the league’s Final Four Friday, March 15, at noon in Quicken Loans Arena.

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