Tucson, Ariz. ?- Senior guard Joy Hollingsworth was named the Arizona women’s basketball Most Valuable Player for the 2006-07 season, head coach Joan Bonvicini announced Thursday night at the team’s annual banquet, as voted on by the players.
Senior Linda Pace was named the team’s Defensive MVP, sophomore Malia O’Neal was selected as the Most Improved Player, and Rhaya Neabers earned Freshman of the Year honors.
Hollingworth, a 2007 All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention recipient, led the Wildcats in nine team categories this season, including scoring with 16.2 ppg, the seventh-best mark in the Pac-10. She also averaged 5.3 rebounds a game, second on the team, and led the Wildcats with 2.1 steals per game and 34.7 minutes per game. She finished the season posting 20 or more points in a game 12 times, and scored in double figures in 26 of 32 games, as she was the only Wildcat to start every game.
Pace led the Wildcats on their surge at the end of the season, starting the last nine games in which she was often given the assignment of guarding the opposing team’s best offensive player. She finished the season averaging 3.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game in 21.6 minutes of action as a starter.
O’Neal also started the last nine games of the season, posting her first career double-double with 12 points and 11 assists against UCLA on Feb. 15. On the season, she averaged 3.2 points, 1.8 rebounds 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals a game in 19.0 minutes of action, impressive increases from her freshman season.
In her first season as a Wildcat, Rhaya Neabors played in all 32 games, making 14 starts at the forward position. She averaged 3.7 points, 2.7 rebounds per game in 23.8 minutes of action.
Freshman Marie McGee earned the team’s Hustle Award, and was selected along with sophomore Whitney Fields for the Most Inspirational Award. Junior Jessica Arnold earned the team’s Academic Award, and Hollingsworth received the Golden “A” Award.
Pace also received the “Polkey” Award, given in honor of Shawntinice Polk. To receive the Polkey Award, a player must demonstrate the qualities Polkey possessed both on and off the court. The player must put the team before individual accomplishment, play with heart, and be a great leader and a great inspiration to teammates.
Most Valuable Player: Joy Hollingsworth
Defensive MVP: Linda Pace
Most Improved Player: Malia O’Neal
Freshman of the Year: Rhaya Neabors
Hustle Award: Marie McGee
Most Inspirational: Marie McGee, Whitney Fields
Academic Award: Jessica Arnold
Golden “A” Award: Joy Hollingsworth
Polkey Award: Linda Pace