Women's Basketball
Illini Wrap Up 2013-14 Season with Banquet

Jacqui Grant, Ashely McConnell, Kyley Simmons, Ivory Crawford and Nia Oden received awards at Monday's banquet.
Jacqui Grant, Ashely McConnell, Kyley Simmons, Ivory Crawford and Nia Oden received awards at Monday's banquet.

April 21, 2014

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Junior guard Ivory Crawford was named Illinois' most valuable player at the team's postseason banquet hosted by the Courtsiders Monday night at the iHotel. Head coach Matt Bollant and his staff also honored Amber Moore as the team's lone senior and recognized her with commemorative basketballs for scoring 1,000 career points and breaking school records for single-season and career three-pointers made.

In addition, junior forward Nia Oden was named the team's defensive player of the year, freshmen Jacqui Grant and Ashley McConnell were named most improved, and junior guard Kyley Simmons earned the Courtsiders Illini Spirit Award.

Crawford averaged 14.4 points per game and led the Illini in rebounding at 5.9 per game. She also had a team-best 66 steals and was second with 62 assists. She ranked 12th in the Big Ten in scoring, 20th in rebounding, third in steals and third in offensive rebounds (2.8 per game).

Oden made the most of her time on the floor, averaging 3.3 rebounds per game in 18.6 minutes per game during Big Ten play, while starting six games. She regularly gave up a great deal of size guarding post players but held her own down low, proving to be a formidable presence on the block.

Grant averaged 13.0 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game, while also averaging 1.4 blocks per game. She ranked 22nd in the Big Ten in scoring, sixth in steals (2.0 per game) and 11th in blocks. She scored in double figures 18 times in 24 games and recorded three double-doubles.

McConnell, who joined the team as a preferred walk-on in the fall, earned progressively more playing time as the season went on, grabbing a starting spot in early February and starting the final seven games of the year. She averaged 7.1 points per game over those final seven contests, averaging 2.6 assists and 2.0 steals in that time-frame.

Simmons earned the Illini Spirit Award while sitting out the 2013-14 season after transferring into the Illinois program last summer. She consistently brought a good attitude and her best effort in practice while improving her game, and usually was the first off the bench during home games to congratulate a teammate or celebrate an accomplishment.

2013-14 Illinois Team Awards
Most Valuable Player:
Ivory Crawford
Defensive Player of the Year: Nia Oden
Most Improved: Jacqui Grant, Ashley McConnell
UI Alumni Association Ralf Woods Free Throw Trophy: Jacqui Grant
Courtsiders Illini Spirit Award: Kyley Simmons