Youngstown State forward Mary Dunn has been named the Horizon League Freshman of the Year for the 2016-17 season, the conference office announced on Tuesday.
Dunn, a native of Washington, Pa., led all Horizon League freshmen in scoring and field-goal percentage, and she was the only freshman in the league to rank among the top three scorers on her team. Additionally, Dunn was named the Horizon League Freshman of the Week a conference-high four times.
Dunn is the first Penguin to be named the Horizon League Freshman of the Year since the award was changed in 2013-14 to honor the league's top freshman. There was previously a Newcomer of the Year award, which YSU alumnae Jen Perugini won in 2001-02. YSU has had a post player receive postseason Horizon League honors for eight straight years and in nine of the last 10.
"We are very proud of Mary for earning Horizon League Freshman-of-the-Year honors," YSU head coach John Barnes said. "She has come a long way this season and has worked hard to improve. She has had a lot of pressure as a freshman in our offense to carry a big portion of our scoring load, and she has responded wonderfully. The honor is well deserved."
Dunn averaged 11.4 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 51.4 percent from the field during the regular season. She scored in double figures 17 times, including nine straight games from Dec. 6 through Jan. 14. She enters the 2017 Little Caesar's Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship having scored at least 10 points in three of her last four games.
Dunn was well on her way to setting Youngstown State's record for points by a freshman before an ankle injury slowed her down at the end of January. Despite missing two games and playing just eight minutes combined in two others due to the injury, her 307 points this season are the sixth-most by a Penguins freshman. Her 18 blocks are the fourth most.
Dunn was joined on the Horizon League All-Freshman Team by Cleveland State's Jade Ely, Detroit Mercy's Anja Marinkovic, Milwaukee's Lizzie Odegard and Green Bay's Caitlyn Hibner. Green Bay senior Mehryn Kraker was voted the Horizon League Player of the Year, and Oakland senior Hannah Little was tabbed the league's Defensive Player of the Year. Taylor Jones from Oakland was named the Sixth Player of the Year, and Wright State's Katrina Merriweather was named the Coach of the Year.
Youngstown State will play Valparaiso in the first round of the 2017 Little Caesar's Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship on Friday at 2:30 p.m.