GREENVILLE, N.C. – For the second straight year, Lashonda Monk of the East Carolina women’s basketball team has been named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, as announced by the league office on Sunday afternoon.
Monk becomes the first player in AAC history to not only repeat as Defensive Player of the Year, but the only one to ever even win it a second time. She is the first Pirate to multiple Individual Awards in her career as well.
“This is a great honor for Lashonda and I’m so happy for her,” said head coach Kim McNeill. “It’s hard to earn Defensive Player of the Year once, to get it back to back years is remarkable. A combination of her natural instincts and our defensive system has helped her excel as the best defender in the conference. Monk has always had a passion to compete and she takes prde in wanting to guard the opposing team’s best player. Defense is a mentality and Lashonda Monk exemplifies that approach everyday.”
Monk came into the season already holding the ECU and AAC career record for steals and she pushed those marks even higher this season. The guard led the American in steals per game, averaging 2.8 steals and finishing the regular-season with 53 takeaways. Monk currently ranks 24th in the country in steals per game and 32nd in total steals. Her defensive impact was not limited to just takeaways. She also averaged 3.8 defensive rebounds per game.
Along with being named the best defensive player in the league, the Greensboro, N.C., native was also named Second Team All-Conference. It is the fourth straight year Monk has been named to a postseason All-Conference team. She was named to the All-Freshman team in 2017-18, followed that with being named Third Team All-Conference in 2018-19 and Second-Team All-Conference in both 2019-20 and 2020-21. Monk becomes the first Pirate to earn a postseason honor in four straight seasons since Jasmine Young did it in Conference USA between 2006 and 2009.
On the offensive end, Monk remained one of the top scorers in the conference, ranking eighth with an average of 13.7 points. She also handed out 3.0 assists per game. Monk has had the best shooting season of her career. She is shooting .347 from the floor and a career-high .300 from three-point range.
Monk was named the AAC Player of the Week for the first time in her career after scoring a career-high 32 points against Cincinnati. She was also named to the AAC Weekly Honor Roll on three occasions.
East Carolina will open the AAC Championship on Tuesday night at Dickies Arena. The Pirates finished as the No. 6 seed in the league’s standings and will take on No. 3 seed Houston at 10 p.m., with the game broadcast on ESPN+.