Ewing, NJ…On the day of their conference tournament opener, The College of New Jersey women’s basketball team earned three special honors from the New Jersey Athletic Conference for their efforts during the regular season.
Junior Hillary Klimowicz (Photo right) (Scotch Plains, NJ/Scotch Plains-Fanwood) was voted as the 2008 NJAC Player of the Year, while freshman Kelsey Kutch (Hillsborough, NJ/Hillsborough) was selected as the NJAC Rookie of the Year. The honors weren’t limited to the players as Dawn Henderson was tabbed as the Coach of the Year.
Klimowicz, who was also named First Team All-NJAC for the second consecutive season, has been a force for the Lions all season leading the team in scoring (16.8 ppg), rebounding (11.2 rpg), blocked shots (103) and field-goal percentage (65.0%). She current leads the NJAC in field-goal percentage and blocks, while ranking second in scoring and third in rebounding. Her shooting percentage from the floor ranks her second nationally and is fourth in blocks at 4.1 per game. She has recorded 19 double-doubles in 25 games this season and has scored in double figures in each game but one.
So far this season, Klimowicz has received various honors including being named the NJAC Player of the Week six times and ECAC Metro Player of the Week twice. She was named the most valuable player of the Gwynedd-Mercy College Classic and earned a spot on the Marymount University Tip-Off Classic All-Tournament Team.
Klimowicz is a standout in the classroom as well as she named CoSIDA’s ESPN The Magazine All-District II Third Team earlier this month.
The center is the first Lion player to receive player of the year honors since Theresa DiMedio was the 2004-05 NJAC Co-Player of the Year.
Kutch (Photo left) has been an impact player for the Lions starting every game and scoring 10.7 points a game and grabbing 6.0 rebounds, putting her second on the team in both of those categories. The forward, who was honored as the NJAC Rookie of the Week once this season, has been consistent throughout the year scoring in double figures on 16 occasions and leads the NJAC in free-throw percentage (82.7%) and is fifth in shooting from the floor (50.3%).
Henderson guided TCNJ to the top seed in the NJAC South Division with an 11-2 record with the team going 20-5 overall during the regular season. Those 20 wins marks the sixth time in her tenure the team has hit the milestone. This marks the fourth time (‘94, ’99 and ’05) she has won the award outright and shared the honor on one other occasion (’02). The veteran coach boasts a career mark of 332-162 and has a mark of 286-112 since taking over the Lion program in 1993.
TCNJ had one other player recognized as sophomore Alexandra Gregorek (Mahwah, NJ/Academy of Holy Angels) received All-NJAC Honorable Mention. Gregorek is having balanced season averaging 9.3 points a game to go with 5.2 rebounds a game. She has been making the most of her chances as she ranks fourth in the NJAC in field-goal percentage making 51.5 percent of her attempts.
Earlier this season, Gregorek earned a spot on the Marymount University Tip-Off Classic All-Tournament Team.
The Lions begin their quest for a second NJAC Championship in the last three years tonight, February 27 hosting Montclair State University at 7 p.m. at Packer Hall.