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All-American Duo

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Photo by Azusa Pacific Sports Information
Briana Hall (left) finished second in the NAIA in assists per game, while Amber Williams (right) broke the program's single-season rebounding record.

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Published
March 22, 2012
By
Chris Baker

AZUSA, Calif.-- Add another accolade to Briana Hall and Amber Williams career resumes as the duo was listed on the 2011-2012 NAIA women’s basketball all-American team. Williams received first team honors after ranking in the top-10 in the country in scoring and rebounding, while Hall earned all-American recognition for the third straight year after finishing second in the NAIA in assists per game. The pair helped the Cougars (26-8) to their fourth consecutive NAIA tournament and graduates as the winningest senior class in program history following Azusa Pacific's third straight trip to the quarterfinals.

AMBER WILLIAMS: Averages - 18.7 points, 12.9 rebounds

In her first season as a starter the senior center put together one of the program’s most impressive campaigns. She registered 23 double-doubles on top of breaking the school’s record for rebounding average (12.9) and total rebounds (440) in a season. Williams was the first player to surpass the 400-rebound plateau in one year and became the 22nd member of the school’s 1,000 point club. In the Cougars’ quarterfinal loss she joined C.J. Hill and Michelle Byrd atop the rankings for most career games at Azusa Pacific (140).

Williams also recorded four 20-rebound games and broke the program's single game mark with 22 in a win against Hope International. She was the recipient of two NAIA player of the Week awards and was three times named the GSAC Women’s basketball Player of the Week before being named to the all-GSAC team; impressive for someone that came off the bench through her first three seasons.

“It speaks a lot to her perseverance and willingness to work hard when she wasn’t the star player so that when the opportunity was there she was ready. It was nice that she had her time to develop,” said head coach T.J. Hardeman. “Our post-coaches, Dan Ploog and Wade Kirchmeyer, worked with her to get solid inside moves so she could do damage. The thing with her is that she’s big and mobile and has incredibly good hands. Every lob we threw up there she used her length and athleticism and got. If we got her at the low block our job was done and she was going to finish.”

BRIANA HALL: Averages - 16.3 points, 6.1 assists

Last season Hall was one of the key members in Azusa Pacific’s championship run, leading the team in assists and steals. But the four-year starter followed up her junior season with an even better senior one, finishing second in the NAIA in assists per game while averaging over 16 points per contest. Her balanced attack was no more evident than in the Cougars’ first round game against MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) when the senior laid it all on the line to score a career-high 32 points while dishing out 10 assists in Azusa Pacific’s come-from-behind overtime win. In three games of tournament play Hall averaged nine assists and 18 points to earn second-team all-tournament.

During the regular season the Fontana native became the program’s all-time assists leader, shattering the previous mark of 562 with 713 dimes in four years. She also ranks in the school’s top-5 in career 3-point field goals made (166) and career steals (339), and is has the 7th most points in Cougar history with 1,654. She is the only Cougar ever to total more than 1,600 points and 600 assists and has two of the top-3 most prolific assist seasons in team history.

“Anytime a coach has one of their best players as a point guard it’s going to make a coach look good. Briana not only knew what to do, but she had the ability to do it. I’m not sure that that gaime against MidAmerica Nazarene wasn’t the best of her career,” said Hardeman. “But she was never about what she can do...she was a reluctant star, which is good for a point guard. She made other people look good. Some guards just score and some guards just set people up, but she did both.”

For the NAIA all-American release Click Here