Women's Basketball

Alexis Peterson becomes first Syracuse player to win ACC Player of the Year award

Connor Bahng | Staff Photographer

Coaches across the league have said Alexis Peterson is the ACC's most improved player.

Syracuse senior point guard Alexis Peterson has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, becoming the first player in SU women’s basketball history to win the honor.

The 5-foot-7 guard averaged 23.6 points, 7.2 assists and and 3.1 steals per game this season. She led the conference in scoring and led the ACC in assists and steals during ACC games. She set the Syracuse single-season scoring record with 683 points and a program record four conference player of the week honors.

She also scored a single-game record 45 points in a victory against North Carolina State on Jan. 12, marking the most points scored by an individual, male or female, in Carrier Dome history.

In 130 career games, Peterson has scored 1,890 points, which ranks second in program history. She has dished out 567 assists, seven shy of the top mark in program history. Peterson and Washington’s Kelsey Plum are the only two active players in the country with at least 1,800 points scored and 500 assists.

Since dominating during last year’s NCAA Tournament, Peterson has emerged as one of the nation’s best point guards. Her scoring average has bumped to nearly 24 points from 16 last season. In developing into a do-it-all pilot of the SU offense, her assist numbers are up to 7.2 from 4.7 a year ago.

“She is one the best point guards I have ever gone up against in my 10 years,” Army head coach Dave Magarity said last March.

“She’s one of the top three point guards in the country,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said in October.

“We tried to double her, we tried to trap her, we tried to keep it out of her hands,” NC State head coach Wes Moore said Jan. 12. “But we just couldn’t find a way.”

“She might be the most improved player in the league,” Notre Dame Hall of Fame coach Muffet McGraw said Feb. 19.

Peterson, who has posted 25 points in back-to-back games, has scored at least 10 points in each of her 29 starts this season. She partners with redshirt senior guard Brittney Sykes for the top-scoring backcourt in the nation. Peterson’s gone from proving people wrong to the hallmark of the program.

The No. 21 Orange (20-9, 11-5 Atlantic Coast) gets a single bye in this year’s ACC tournament. It takes the floor Thursday at 8 p.m. in Conway, South Carolina, against the winner of 14th-seeded North Carolina and 11th-seeded Pittsburgh.

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