MEAC Announces 2024 Women’s Basketball All-Conference Awards

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk State junior forward Kierra Wheeler was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Player of the Year, the conference announced Tuesday evening in the Chrysler Hall during the second annual MEAC BBT Awards.  

Tyana Walker of Howard?was named Rookie of the Year, while Laila Lawrence junior forward from Coppin State earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. Norfolk State’ Larry Vickers was named Coach of the Year. 

Norfolk State’s Diamond Johnson earned Newcomer of the Year, while Coppin State’s Faith Blackstone was awarded the 6th Player of the Year.  

All awards were voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. 

Wheeler was named Player of the Year after earning a total of seven MEAC weekly honors as the Spartans leading scorer averaging 17.5 points per game. She ranked second in the MEAC in rebounding (9.4) and in blocks per game (1.4) totaling 36 for the season while also finishing sixth in the conference in field-goal percentage (46.3). She posted a career high double-double 33 points and 17 rebounds against High-Point on Dec. 18. She had nine 20-point games, with two 30-point outings throughout the season, along with 14 double digit rebounding performances, 13 of which were double-doubles. Nationally, Wheeler is ranked No. 18 in all Div. 1 players in offensive rebounds per game (4). She was named the Boxtorow National HBCU Player of the Week after back-to-back 20-point double-double performances against Coppin State (Feb. 24) and Morgan State (Feb. 26).  

Walker?ranked fifth in the league in scoring and led the Bison with 14.5 points per game in MEAC play.  She was a five-time MEAC Rookie of the Week awardee with 19 double digit scoring games, including a career high 24 points against Norfolk (Jan. 24).  She led all players with 21 points and four steals against Morgan State (Feb. 24). Walker ranks fourth in the MEAC in both three-point field goal percentage (39.1) and free-throw percentage at 77.4 percent. 

Lawrence?was one of the nation’s top rebounders this season ranking 15th nationally with 10.6 rebounds per game, while sitting eighth nationally in offensive rebounds (4.5).  Her 15 double doubles this season places her at No. 22 in all NCAA Div. 1 players in double doubles. Lawrence set a season and career-high of 25 rebounds against Delaware State on Feb. 17.  She finished second in the MEAC in blocks per game (1.4) and totaled 34 for the season. Lawrence is third in the conference in steals (2.3) and stands second overall in scoring with 14.1 points per game.  The Lewisville, Texas native recorded a season high in both blocks (4) and steals (7) in a double-double performance against Howard with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Lawrence earned six MEAC Defensive Player of the Week awards this season to lead the conference. 

Johnson was the leading scorer in MEAC play with 19.6 points per game throughout the conference season. She had an overall season average of 20.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists (5th in the MEAC). Johnson shot 44 percent from three-point range to lead the MEAC and was ranked 27th in the nation in steals per game (3.9). The Philadelphia, Pa., native was a five-time MEAC Player of the Week and was once named the MEAC Defensive Player of the Week. She recorded a season-high of 29 points and five steals against Maryland Eastern Shore (Feb. 5) and upped that on Feb. 26 with a new season-high of 32 points against Morgan State. 

Blackstone finished the season fourth in the MEAC with 12.1 points per game as the team’s second leading scorer.  She ranked fifth overall in three-point field goal percentage (38.3) with 17 double-digit scoring games. Blackstone led the team to a victory against FIU with a season-high 22 points and dropped 15 points in a victory against Pitt (Nov. 21). Additionally, she led all players with 19 points against Syracuse University on Nov. 15. Blackstone had two 17-point games resulting in victories against MEAC opponents Maryland Eastern Shore (Jan. 8) and Morgan State (Mar. 7).  

Vickers?earned the MEAC Coach of the Year honor for the second straight season after leading the Spartans to their second consecutive MEAC regular-season title.  Vickers led the Spartans to a 92.9 winning percentage (13-1), setting a school record for the best winning percentage in program history since joining the MEAC in 1998-99.  His defensive tactics put the team on a national scale, as they are ranked fourth in the nation in both scoring defense (53.1 ppg) and steals per game (12.5). Under his leadership the Spartans sit at No. 5 in the nation in turnover margin (7.48), while they are eighth in the nation in turnovers forced (21.34).  

Wheeler, Walker, and Lawrence are joined by Norfolk State’s Diamond Johnson and Coppin State’s Faith Blackstone as the 2024 All-MEAC First Team.   

The 2024 MEAC Basketball Tournament begins Wednesday, March 13, and runs through Saturday, March 16, at the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.