BOSTON, Mass. – The Rookie of the Year honors continued to roll in for freshmen Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) and Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fla.) as the two players were named the top two rookies in the Northeast Region which was released by D3Hoops.com.
The power duo led their respective teams in multiple categories this season and are now in the running for D3Hoops.com All-American honors which will be announced this Friday at the Final Four of the Division III men's and women's basketball tournaments.
The two Rookie of the Year honors is the first-ever in UMass Boston basketball history and is the first time that either program has had a player earn the top rookie honor in the Northeast. No strangers to earning D3Hoops.com honors the duo also became the first two players in school history to be named to the D3Hoops.com Team of the Week which honors the top five players in the country for their standout performances.
Morrison, who became the first player in school history to be named a Little East Conference All-Rookie Team, Second Team, and Rookie of the Year honoree, led the LEC in both points (16.5) and rebounds (10.1) per game. Having started in 22 of the 26 games played this season, the North Reading native shot a team-leading 39.8% (150-for-377) from the field and finished fourth on the team at the charity strip as she shot 60.9% (106-for-174). On the glass she registered 255 rebounds with 83 of those coming on the offensive side of the court. She also handed out 22 assists and dominated the Beacons defense with a combined 39 blocks and 35 steals.
Of her 25 appearances this season, Morrison finished in double-figures a combined 21 times. She also set a program record for most double-doubles in a single-season with 13. Amongst her many standout performances was a career-best 31 points in the Beacons first win over Eastern Connecticut State University under head coach Courtney Mattingly on January 14. She would follow-up that performance with a 30-point showing just seven days later at Western Connecticut State University. In the overtime win at Plymouth State University, Morrison tallied a career-best 16 boards.
Throughout the season, Morrison garnered numerous conference and regional honors as she was named Little East Conference Rookie of the Week six of the 12 times it was presented as well as being named the New England Women's Basketball Association (WBCA) Rookie of the Week three times.
A three-time LEC Rookie of the Week selection, DeLucia averaged 11.6 points per game which was second most on this year's team. From the field he shot 41.1% (102-for-248), while from 3-point range he shot a team-best 47.5%. DeLucia also added 79 assists and 38 steals to his line in his rookie season with the Beacons.
One of the team's most athletic players, DeLucia had perhaps his best week of the season when he averaged over 26 points per game to earn both his third LEC Rookie of the Week honor as well as a place on the D3Hoops.com Team of the Week. In the loss at the University of Southern Maine, DeLucia dropped-in a career-best 29 points. Just a few days later, he continued to shoot the lights out of the gymnasium as he finished with 24 points at Plymouth State University. On the year, DeLucia finished as the Beacons leading scorer in seven different games. Of those seven team-best showings four came in the final four games of the regular season including an 18 point outing in the near upset of the regular season and tournament champion Eastern Connecticut State University.