College of St. Joseph's Aliesha Thomas and Daija Black have been selected to receive Northeastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference end-of-the-year awards. Thomas was named to the NIAC All-Conference First Team. Black's efforts earned her a spot on the NIAC All-Conference Second Team.
Black, a sophomore from Germantown, Md., secured her spot at the top of several statistical categories from the start of the 2017-18 season. She is one of two Lady Saints who average double-figures in scoring, with 11 points per game. Though Black did not play the point guard position often this year, she leads the team with 2.5 assists per game. She ranks second on the team in steals per game (2.4) and fourth in rebounds per game with 4.7. Black's aggressive play on both ends of the floor earned her a spot on the NIAC Second Team.
In CSJ's season-opener at UMaine-Augusta, Blac scored a team-high 16 points and also recorded four assists, two rebounds and a steal. In the Lady Saints' home opener versus Bristol CC, Black led the Lady Saints to an 83-78 victory. She recorded a game-high 25 points off 9-for-17 shooting (52.9 percent) from the floor and 6-for-9 shooting from the foul line, while also tallying three steals, two assists and a team-leading eight rebounds. Black did not score less than 16 points or record less than four assists over the next three games; on Dec. 3 against UMaine-Machias (16 points, four assists, three rebounds, two steals), on Dec. 5 at SUNY Delhi (19 points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal) and on Dec. 6 versus Rivier University (18 points, six steals, four rebounds, four assists).
More recently, on Jan. 24, Black executed what was perhaps her best all-around game of the season against Vermont Technical College. She notched a season-high nine steals and seven assists, while also being CSJ's game-leader in scoring with 20 points off 47.1 percent shooting from the field (8-for-17). She pulled down five rebounds in the 77-64 victory. On Feb. 10 in a 66-59 win over UMaine-Presque Isle, Black shot 50 percent from the floor for 11 points and recorded five rebounds, three assists and one steal. She scored 16 points to keep CSJ close in a loss to UMaine-Fort Kent the following day.
Black and Thomas's all-around athleticism, skill and basketball IQ's will be crucial in Friday night's conference playoff game at Villa Maria College at 4:00 p.m. Villa earned the #1 seed in the NIAC and is ranked #6 by the United States Intercollegiate Athletic Association, earning a spot in the USCAA National Tournament regardless of the weekend's outcome.