Leigha Brown is the 2019-20 Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year.
The conference coaches and media both selected the sophomore from the Huskers as the most impactful reserve player in the league Monday in announcing its end-of-the-year honors.
Brown, a 6-foot-1 wing from Auburn, Indiana, led the Huskers in scoring at 14.2 points a game, but she did so while coming off the bench for all 29 regular-season games. She finished the year 12th in the league in scoring and was the only non-starter to rank among the Big Ten's top 25 in that category. Although she did not start a game, Brown ranked fifth among the Huskers in minutes played throughout the season and fourth in minutes during Big Ten Conference games.
She was oftentimes among the five women head coach Amy Williams chose to close games with, and she was the team’s high scorer in 13 of its 29 games (nine of them coming in conference play). She also closed the regular season on a tear, leading the team in scoring in seven of the last 10 games. During that stretch, she produced five of her eight 20-point scoring performances. Brown added 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per contest on the year.
In addition to being named the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year, Brown was also an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection by both the conference coaches and media. She was joined by center Kate Cain in earning honorable-mention All-Big Ten accolades.
Cain, a 6-foot-5 junior, was also named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team by both the conference coaches and media for the second time in her Husker career. Cain led the Big Ten in both blocks (3.6 bpg) and defensive rebounds (6.7 drpg) during the 18-game conference regular season.
She enters the Big Ten Tournament needing just two blocks to match her Husker season record (100, set as a freshman). Her 277 career blocks have made her the most prolific shot blocker in Nebraska basketball (men and women) history and her career total ranks 10th in Big Ten history.
In addition to the awards voted on by coaches and media, senior forward Grace Mitchell claimed Nebraska's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. Mitchell also earned the Sam Foltz Hero 27 Leadership Award in 2019. She’s a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
Nebraska (17-12, 7-11 Big Ten) begins what it hopes to be a lengthy run through the Big Ten tournament on Thursday. A 10-seed, Nebraska will play seventh-seeded Michigan (19-10, 10-8 Big Ten) at 5:30 p.m. CT on BTN.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.