May 7, 2014
Complete 2014 All-Big Ten teams (BigTen.org)
2014 Big Ten Tournament website
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Led by a pair of first-team selections, four Wildcats have earned All-Big Ten honors as voted on by the conference coaches and announced today (May 7) by the league office. NU has had at least four student-athletes chosen for All-Big Ten awards in each of the last 12 seasons; voting is based solely on performance in conference play.
Senior Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) led the way as a first-team selection and an All-Defensive Team honoree at third base, marking her fourth-straight year of All-Big Ten accolades. Sophomore Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) also earned a first-team honor at second base for the Wildcats.
Senior Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) joined Bast as a four-time All-Big Ten award winner with second-team and All-Defensive Team selections in the outfield. Junior Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) joined Allard on the All-Big Ten second team.
Bast's first-team award is the second of her career. She also was a first-team selection during her All-America campaign of 2012 while earning second-team accolades in 2011 and 2013. Bast led NU with 20 runs scored and 20 RBIs in Big Ten play this season while ranking among the conference leaders with a .506 on-base percentage helped by her 16 walks. She was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on April 21 after helping Northwestern sweep Indiana in part by joining the Drysdale Field "Roof Club" when she homered onto the roof of McGaw Hall during the series.
Bast's All-Defensive Team honor is the first of her career in the second year of existence for the award. Her arm strength at third base has long been legendary, and with her quick glove and range -- especially in covering bunt attempts -- this award is long overdue for the senior who made just one error in 74 chances.
LeBeau earns the first All-Big Ten award for her bat this season after being named an All-Defensive Team honoree as a freshman last year. LeBeau matched DiPrima for the team lead in batting at .393 during Big Ten play, slugging a team-high .714 while earning respect to the tune of the conference's second-best on-base percentage of .544. LeBeau had eight extra-base hits including four home runs during the year.
Allard is a three-time second-team All-Big Ten winner with this year's award; she also was named a first-team selection in 2011 during a year in which she was named the NFCA Golden Shoes Award winner as the nation's best base stealer. In 2014, Allard hit .341 in league play while leading the Big Ten with 12 stolen bases and ranking sixth overall with 31 hits. She put the ball in play admirably, striking out just six times in 91 official at-bats.
Perhaps more intriguing is Allard's first-career All-Big Ten Defensive team nod, which comes as an outfielder after she spent the first four years of her career at shortstop. Allard was an outfielder for her entire prep career before converting to short as a freshman in 2010. She started there for three years until an injury forced her to take a medical hardship in 2013. In her absence, Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) played so well that Allard was able to move back to her roots, where she used her speed to achieve great range while playing error-free ball in 36 chances with two outfield assists.
DiPrima's first-ever All-Big Ten award comes in her junior season after she matched LeBeau for the team lead with a .393 average in league play. DiPrima ranked third in the Big Ten in on-base percentage at .519 and 10th in batting while driving in 11 runs.
Sophomore Fran Strub (Coralville, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana) was named Northwestern's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree. One of the Wildcats' primary pinch runners this season, Strub is also known for her hard work in practice, her approach and respect for the game and her dedication to her in-game craft in the dugout.
These All-Big Ten winners and the rest of the Wildcats welcome the Big Ten to Evanston May 8-10 for the 2014 Big Ten Tournament. The fifth-seeded Wildcats will open against the Spartans at 7 p.m. CT Thursday, May 8, in the first-ever night game at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. For full tournament information including bracket and broadcast details, explore the official 2014 Big Ten Tournament website. Click on the team logos to learn more about each program this season before checking out all of the action in Evanston this week!
Tickets are available now by calling 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775) or online at NUsports.com. An all-session ticket is $27 for adults and $15 for students, youth and seniors. Single-session (one day) tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students, youth and seniors. Additionally, groups of 15 or more that buy in advance can purchase single-session tickets for just $5 per person. For group information, call Joe Thuente at 847-467-6862 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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