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McDowell named Landmark Defensive Player of the Year, joins Ashcraft on All-Landmark team

(Posted March 4, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College senior guard Claudia McDowell (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) and senior forward Kelly Ashcraft (Bellefonte, Pa./State College Area) received First team All-Landmark Conference honors, when the conference's post-season honors were announced Wednesday.

McDowell also received the nod as the Landmark's Defensive Player of the Year, after leading the conference with 83 steals (3.19/g) and ranking 41st among NCAA Division III leaders in the category. She has averaged 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds this season, and is fourth in the Landmark in assists with 109 (4.19/g). She tallied 15 double-digit scoring performances this season, with a career-high 27 points in Juniata's 88-49 win over Geneseo State on November 22, 2008.

McDowell heads into the ECAC South Tournament with career totals of 922 points, 360 rebounds, 306 assists, and 222 steals, and she currently ranks fourth among both Juniata career assist and career steals leaders.

Ashcraft finished the Landmark tournament ranked fifth in the league in scoring with 13.1 points per game, and was among the Landmark's top 20 rebounders with 5.2 boards per contest. She was second in the league, 26th among NCAA Division III leaders, in field goal shooting with a .537 field goal percentage. Ashcraft scored in double-figures on 17 occasions this season, with a career-high 28 points versus Pitt-Greensburg on November 29, 2008.

Ashcraft currently has 1,093 career points and 556 career rebounds, and ranks seventh and 10th respectively in those two categories among Juniata's all-time leaders.

Juniata was the only team with two First team selections to the All-Landmark Conference squads, and McDowell and Ashcraft were two of only three honorees to repeat as First team honorees, along with Scranton's Megan Kopecki.

Juniata posted a 15-11 overall record this season, 9-5 in the Landmark Conference, and reached the Landmark Conference for the second consecutive season as a number three seed. The Eagles were defeated by Moravian 66-57 in the semifinal of the Landmark tourney, but received a bid to the ECAC Division III South Region Tournament.

Eighth-seeded Juniata will face top-seed Albright College in an ECAC tournament quarterfinal on Wednesday evening in Reading, Pa.

The complete All-Landmark Conference team is as follows:

First Team
G-Claudia McDowell, Juniata, Sr., Alexandria, Pa. (Juniata Valley)
G-Kate Harrison, Moravian, Jr., Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. (Cold Spring Harbor)
G-Megan Kopecki, Scranton, So., Millington, N.J. (Watchung Hills Regional)
G-Stephanie Waller, USMMA, Sr., Brookfield, Wis. (Brookfield East)
F-Brianna Peterson, Catholic, So., Garnerville, N.Y. (North Rockland)
F-Kelly Ashcraft, Juniata, Sr., Bellefonte, Pa. (State College)


Second Team
G-Rachael Hughes, Susquehanna, So., Gordon, Pa. (North Schuylkill)
F-Alyssa Bisci, Moravian, Jr., Easton, Pa. (Easton)
G-Ryan Mooney, Scranton, Jr., Spring City, Pa. (Pius X)
F-Amber Smith, Goucher, Jr., Baltimore, Md. (Institute of Notre Dame)
F-Libby Shober, Susquehanna, Fr., Barnesville, Pa. (Marian Catholic)
F-May Marie Hayes, USMMA, Sr., Pearland, Texas (Pearland)

Player of the Year: Megan Kopecki, Scranton
Defensive Player of the Year: Claudia McDowell, Juniata
Rookie of the Year: Libby Shober, Susquehanna
Coaching Staff of the Year: Susquehanna University

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