(From left:) EMU Coach Kevin Griffin has earned his second Coach of the Year honor in eight seasons, while Bianca Ygarza was named All-ODAC First Team and Shakeerah Sykes was named All-ODAC Second Team. (photos by Wayne Gehman)

Griffin Named ODAC Coach Of The Year, Ygarza and Sykes Honored

EMU women’s basketball coach Kevin Griffin has been named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Royals to their best-ever finish in conference play. Junior forward Bianca Ygarza (Conestoga, PA/Penn Manor) earned a repeat selection to the All-ODAC First Team, while sophomore Shakeerah Sykes (Dumfries, VA/Forest Park) was named All-ODAC Second Team.

Eastern Mennonite finished first in the league at 15-1, besting their previous best ODAC finish of 13-1 from 1984-85. Aside from the win total, a big accomplishment for Griffin was melding a stable full of talented players into a balanced team, as eight women average between 6.5 and 10.1 points. Griffin earns his second ODAC Coach of the Year award in eight years at the helm of EMU, as he also won in 2006-07. Griffin has won 135 career games to date, and leads his Royals in search of their third ODAC title.

Ygarza was named All-ODAC First Team for the second straight year, as she led the women’s attack with 10.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. The multi-faceted Ygarza is also second on the team with 2.1 assists per game and enters the postseason in the ODAC’s top 17 in 10 different categories.

All-ODAC Second Teamer Sykes, who gave up her starting spot to Ygarza this season, has been an explosive presence coming off the bench for EMU. She is averaging 10.0 points and 6.2 rebounds and leads the ODAC with a 53.4% shooting clip. Sykes is also first in the league at 24.7 points per 48 minutes.

The Royals enter the postseason on a 12-game winning streak, which is tied for the longest in program history. Top-seeded EMU, 19-5 overall and 15-1 in the ODAC, takes on No. 8 Washington and Lee in the ODAC Quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at 1:00pm.

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