ANN ARBOR, Mich. – For the second straight year, senior Naz Hillmon of the University of Michigan women’s basketball team was picked as the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year as the conference announced its preseason honors Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 25). Senior Leigha Brown also was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team and U-M was tabbed fourth by both the coaches and media.
Hillmon, the 2021 Big Ten Player of the Year, earned the top preseason honor by the media after garnering it by the coaches last season. She was one of two unanimous picks to the preseason team by both voting groups. She is coming off a junior season where she started all 22 games and averaged 23.9 points and 11.4 rebounds in 33.8 minutes per contest while shooting 62.3 percent from the field. She racked up 15 double-doubles on the season, ranking 11th nationally, while ranking among the nation’s best in field-goal percentage (second), scoring average (seventh) and rebounding average (15th). She scored in double figures in all but one game, with three 30-point games and 15 20-point games. Hillmon recorded the first 50-point game in Michigan history with a 50-point, 16-rebound performance at Ohio State (Jan. 21). This is the third straight time Hillmon has been named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team.
Brown grabbed the preseason nod for the first time in her career after appearing in 18 contests last season for the Maize and Blue. She was named to the All-Big Ten second team by both the coaches and media, along with earning a Player of the Week honor (Jan. 4) during the 2020-21 campaign. In her first season in Ann Arbor, Brown averaged 18.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 33.5 minutes per game. She scored in double figures in all but one game with nine 20-point performances. She racked up three 20-point games during Michigan’s NCAA Tournament run, highlighted by a 28-point showing against Florida Gulf Coast, averaging 24.7 points per game over the three tourney contests.
The Wolverines, ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press poll, were picked to finish fourth in the conference by both voting groups. U-M went 16-6 in 2020-21, reaching the first NCAA Sweet 16 in program history after wins over Florida Gulf Coast and Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament.