|Sarah Payonk||Bridgette Mann||Alexix Roman||Trevor Woodruff|
For the second straight season, a University of Scranton women's basketball student-athlete has been named the Landmark Conference's Player of the Year, as junior forward Sarah Payonk (Schwenksville, Pa./Spring-Ford) captured the 2015-16 edition of the award on Tuesday, headlining the All-Landmark Conference selections for the Lady Royals.
Elsewhere, freshman guard Bridgette Mann (Canadensis, Pa./Wallenpaupack) was named the Landmark's Rookie of the Year, while head coach Trevor Woodruff and his staff was tabbed as the Coaching Staff of the Year in the Conference.
Payonk (a second-team selection in 2015-16 and 2014-15) and fellow junior forward Alexix Roman (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack) were slotted as All-Conference First Team members, as well, rounding out the list for Scranton.
The fourth Lady Royal to win Landmark Player of the Year honors (joining Kathellen Daly (07-08), Megan Kopecki (08-09, 09-10, 10-11) and Meredith Mesaris (14-15)), Payonk was a deserving recipient of this year's award, as she did just about everything for Scranton on both ends of the floor.
Payonk enters the NCAA Tournament averaging 12.4 points per game for the year and 10.2 rebounds, scoring in double figures in 20 of the 27 games Scranton played in on the 2015-16 season to date.
One of the best facilitators of the basketball in the country, she ended the year tops in the Landmark and ninth in the NCAA in total assists with 156 (a 5.8 per game average, the 11th best mark nationally). Payonk also enters the NCAA Tournament shooting 81 percent from the free throw line (72-of-88), which is also the highest percentage on the team.
Throughout the course of the year, Payonk registered both the fourth and fifth triple-doubles in program history, first accomplishing the feat against Catholic on Jan. 16 (14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists), then again on Feb. 10 against Susquehanna (16 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists), becoming the first player in program history to accomplish the feat twice in a season in program history.
In her first season of collegiate basketball, Mann adjusted perfectly to the college game, starting all 27 games on the year to date at guard. Ending the year averaging 10.9 points per game, Mann also dished out 96 assists.
Mann saved her best games of the season against Landmark rival Catholic, scoring 21, 20 and 17 points in the three match-ups against the Cardinals, three of the four highest point totals she posted for the season.
Roman, who earned a spot on an All-Landmark Conference Team for the first time in her career, enters the NCAA Tournament as one of the top scorers in all of Division III, averaging 18.6 points per contest, the best mark in the Landmark Conference.
Entering the NCAA Tournament ranked fourth in the country in field goal percentage (65.1) and 13th in field goals made (206), Roman scored in double figures in all but two games on the year to date, leading the Lady Royals in scoring in 18 times throughout the course of the year.
Roman also garnered USBWA Division III Player of the Week honors (Dec. 21) and National Jesuit Player of the Week accolades (Feb. 11) throughout the course of the season, as well.
In his first season at the helm of the Lady Royal program - along with his first season ever coaching women's college basketball after an 11 year career coaching a men's program - Woodruff and his staff guided the Lady Royals to heights not seen in program history with the 27-0 start.
Statistically, Woodruff's Lady Royals rank highly nationally in categories on both the offensive and defensive ends, with the highest ranked nationally coming in field goal percentage, where the Lady Royals rank second in all of NCAA Division III at 47.3 percent. Scranton is also seventh in both total assists (497) and scoring margin (19.9), ninth in assists-to-turnover ratio (1.20) and rank 17th in scoring defense (51.1), as just one team the entire 2015-16 season has scored over 60 points on Scranton (Moravian).
To view the full 2015-16 All-Landmark Conference Women's Basketball team, click here.
The Lady Royals will host the First and Second Round of the 2015-16 NCAA Division III Tournament inside the John Long Center beginning on Friday, where they will take on WPI in the First Round. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.