George Mason University

News at Mason

Nicole Cardaño-Hillary is A-10 Player of the Year

March 7, 2019

Nicole Cardaño-Hillary, who led the conference in points and steals, is just the eighth player to win the A-10 rookie of the year and player of the year awards in consecutive seasons. Photo by Art Pittman.

Nicole Cardaño-Hillary, a sophomore point guard on George Mason University’s women’s basketball team, has been named the 2019 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year in a vote of coaches, the league announced. Cardaño-Hillary, the 2018 A-10 Rookie of the Year, leads the league in scoring (20.4 points per game) and steals (65).

Junior guard Sarah Kaminski was named to the A-10 All-Academic Team.

This marks the second straight year a Patriot has been named the A-10 Player of the Year. Former graduate student Natalie Butler took the top honor last year.

Cardaño-Hillary is the first player in A-10 history to win A-10 Rookie of the Year and A-10 Player of the Year honors in back-to-back years. She is just one of eight players to win both awards during a career. She is only the fifth sophomore to be named A-10 Player of the Year.

Mason is also just the third school to have different players win the award in consecutive years. 

Cardaño-Hillary, a communication major from Madrid, Spain, picked up where she left off as a freshman, when she led the conference with 84 steals and was third with an average 17.8 points.

This season, she tied for 16th in the country with an average 20.4 points, and she scored more than 20 points in 16 games. She also notched 30 points or more four times, including a career-high 37 against George Washington on Feb. 6. The 37 points were the most by a Mason player in a game in more than 15 years. In addition to leading the league in steals for the second straight year, Cardaño-Hillary also is tied for fifth in assists (95).

She currently ranks 14th on Mason's all-time scoring list with 1,218 points and is 13th in career steals with 149.

Kaminski, a junior from Plymouth, Minnesota, was named to the A-10 All-Academic Team for the first time in her career. The criminology, law and society major boasts a 4.0 GPA, is a two-time George Mason Provost Scholar Athlete and was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District First Team. Kaminski ranked fourth on the team in scoring, with an average of 7.7 points, and led the team with 56 3-point baskets. She ranks sixth in program history with 139 3-pointers.

This is the second straight year Mason has had a player on the All-Academic Team as Butler also earned the honor last year.

The Patriots' season ended on Tuesday with an 86-80 double overtime loss to Massachusetts in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. Mason finished with a 16-14 record and an 8-8 mark in league play. The Patriots posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 15 years. The 40 wins the past two years are also their most in a two-year stretch in program history.