NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The No. 11 University of the Sciences women's basketball team received two of the four major awards, with Sarah Abbonizio and head coach Jackie Hartzell being voted the Central Atlantic Athletic Conference (CACC) Player and Coach of the Year, and Alex Thomas was named All-CACC First Team for the second straight year, as the league offices announced postseason honors on Tuesday.
A year after earning All-CACC Second Team honors, Abbonizio becomes just the third player in program history receive the conference's top honor, joining Leah Shumoski (2003-04, 2005-06) and Caitlin Shaw (2010-11).
The senior currently leads USciences (25-3, 17-2 CACC) in scoring, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted and minutes, ranking in the top-10 of the league in each, including fifth at 15.9 points per game.
She has scored in double-figures in 24-of-28 games this season, and scored 20 points or more on nine occasions, including a career-high 27 at Felician on Jan. 20.
Abbonizio is also top-10 in the CACC in free throw percentage (81.7), as well as top-16 in field goal percentage (45.0), 3-pointers per game (1.8), 3-point percentage (34.2), assists per game (2.9) and assist/turnover ratio (1.3).
She is a nine-time CACC Honor Roll selection this season and just last week, she was one of two student-athletes from the conference, as well as one of 51 in all of Division II, to be named First Team Academic All-District® honoree by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Hartzell, the 2014-15 CACC Coach of the Year, becomes just the second coach in league history to earn Coach of the Year honors multiple times, joining Holy Family's Mike McLaughlin.
Hartzell has led University of the Sciences to its most successful regular season in program history, one in which the Devils have set program records with 25 regular season victories, 17 CACC wins (19-game schedule) and an 18-game win streak.
USciences also clinched its second consecutive CACC South title, and third in the last four years, and reached its highest-ever national ranking at No. 11.
Thomas, a junior, has the distinction of becoming just the fifth player in program history to earn All-CACC recognition three times, joining the likes of Shumoski (2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06), Shelby Rance (2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07), Erin Chesnavich (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10) and Brianne Traub (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2015-16).
A Third Team selection in 2015-16 and a First Team selection in 2016-17, she joins the quartet in earning back-to back First Team honors.
Thomas is second in the CACC in 3-point percentage (40.6), third in free throw percentage (88.1), seventh in points per game (15.4), ninth in 3-pointers per game (2.1) and ninth in free throws made (74).
She has scored in double-figures in 26-of-28 games and made a 3-pointer in 25-of-28.
USciences, the No. 1 overall seed in the CACC Tournament, begins postseason play with a home Quarterfinal matchup against Felician - the four seed from the CACC North – tonight at 7 p.m.