SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — University of New England sophomore guard Lauren Hayden has been named the Commonwealth Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and Anthony Ewing has been selected CCC Coach of the Year, as the end-of-season women’s basketball awards were announced Tuesday morning by league Commissioner Gregg Kaye.

Two other were picked to all-conference teams through voting conducted by the 10 CCC head coaches ”“ junior forward Kelly Coleman landed a spot on the all-CCC first team and sophomore guard Meghan Gribbin received a nod for the second team.

Hayden, who also garnered third team recognition, has been a constant threat on the defensive end of the court all season, and currently leads Division III in steals per game (4.40). She set the UNE single-game record for thefts with 10 against Nichols ”“ a game in which she had nine points, nine rebounds, and nine steals at halftime. In CCC games, the honorable mention pick from a year ago ranked 6th in assists (2.9) and 4th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8). Overall, Hayden is averaging 7.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per outing for the Nor’easters.

Coleman is on the first team for a second straight season, pacing Big Blue in scoring at 17.6 and rebounding at 7.0 so far this year. She was statistically one of the best during the conference regular-season, ranking 2nd in points/game and field goals made (117), 4th in free throws made (73) and 6th in free throw percentage (74%), 6th in steals (2.0), and 10th in rebounds. Coleman has six double-doubles to-date, and has eclipsed her personal-best for points three times this season  topped by a career 32-point performance at Gordon.

Gribbin has averaged 8.4 points and 3.3 assists per match for UNE at the point guard spot, and leads the squad with the assist total as well as an 81.4 free throw shooting percentage. In CCC outings, she ranked 3rd in free throw accuracy, 4th in assists/game, and 6th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5). Gribbin recorded a career-high 22 points against Salve Regina.

For a second straight year, Ewing has been selected as the CCC Coach of the Year by his peers ”“ sharing the distinction with Kelly Thompson of Roger Williams. It marks the third honor for the seventh-year head coach, who has guided the Nor’easters to 11 consecutive wins and a 23-2 record.

UNE captured its third straight CCC regular-season title this year with a 17-1 ledger, setting up Big Blue to host the conference postseason tournament where the Nor’easters have not lost (14-0) in 2013-14. During the 18-game league slate, UNE allowed the fewest points (52.2) and had the second-best scoring margin (+14.6). Big Blue also led the CCC in three-pointers made (5.0), steals (10.9), and turnover margin (+6.4).

The Nor’easters are ranked at No. 20 in the latest USA Today Division III Top 25 Coaches Poll. They will play fourth-seeded Salve Regina in the CCC semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday at Harold Alfond Forum in Biddeford, with the winner moving on to Saturday afternoon’s final.

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