Michigan's Naz Hillmon earns Big Ten Player of the Year honors in women's basketball
Michigan junior Naz Hillmon, who has averaged 25.1 points and 11.3 rebounds this season, has established herself as one of the best players in the country and is now the program’s first to earn Big Ten Player of the Year.
Hillmon also became the Wolverines’ second player to become a three-time consensus All-Big Ten first-team player, joining Michigan standout Katelynn Flaherty (2016-2018). The Big Ten awards were announced Monday.
Michigan State junior guard Nia Clouden also earned Big Ten first-team honors. She is the only MSU player to start all 20 games and averaged 18 points and 4.2 assists. Hillmon and Clouden are the only two players from Michigan and Michigan State to make All-Big Ten first team.
During the regular season, Hillmon averaged 32.9 minutes per game and shot 64.5 percent from the field. She ranks second in the conference in scoring and field-goal percentage. She scored a whopping 50 points and had 16 rebounds at Ohio State in January and earlier that month against Nebraska, scored 35 points and had 22 rebounds. Hillmon also is one of five finalists for the Katrina McClain Award, which recognizes the top power forward in Division I basketball and is one of 15 players named to the national ballot for the Wooden Award.
“Naz Hillmon is the best player in the country,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said last month in a Zoom call with reporters.
Michigan, its season shorted by two COVID-19 pauses, finished the regular season 14-4 overall and 9-4 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines are the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament this week and will play Thursday against a team to be determined.
The No. 7-seeded Spartans (13-7, 8-7 Big Ten) will face No. 10 Penn State in the second round on Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Leigha Brown, a Michigan junior, was named All-Big Ten second team, and graduate student Akienreh Johnson was named by the coaches to the All-Defensive team. Senior Hailey Brown was named Michigan’s sportsmanship honoree. Spartans sophomore guard Julia Ayrault was named Michigan State’s Big Ten sportsmanship award honoree.