May 16, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Junior first baseman Ashley Courtney garnered third team All-Big Ten honors when the conference doled out its postseason awards on Wednesday.
Courtney started all 53 games for the Boilermakers in 2012, 44 at first base and nine at second base. The junior, who was a starter at second base for the last two seasons, switched to first base to fill a team need. Despite the transition, the Lafayette, Ind., native made good on 98 percent of her defensive opportunities, and was involved in a team-best 14 double plays, which ranked third among conference players.
Courtney also was a steady presence at the plate, reaching base via hit, walk or hit-by-pitch in 45 of 53 games, including two five-game hit streaks, 11 multi-hit games and three perfect days at the plate. She drove in a team-leading 34 RBI, including eight game winners, while scoring 26 runs, including two game winners. The junior posted a .350 average with 18 extra-base hits, including 13 doubles and three home runs. She boasted a .531 slugging percentage and 28 walks for a team-leading .457 on-base percentage, while also swiping eight bases. Courtney ranked among the league's top 10 in double plays (3rd with 14), triples (6th with 2), doubles (8th with 13) and on-base percentage (10th with .457). The on-base percentage tally ranks tied for fifth on Purdue's all-time season list.
In conference play, Courtney posted a .349 average with 15 RBI, 12 runs and seven doubles. Defensively, she made good on all but one of her chances. Her seven doubles ranked fourth in the league, while her one triple also ranked fourth. The junior laid down four sacrifice bunts during the Big Ten season, ranking 10th. She started 22 games at first base during the conference season and one at second.
Courtney also was recognized as Purdue softball's sportsmanship award honoree. The team's Heart of a Champion award winner for the last three seasons, the infielder also was a Wooden Citizenship Award semifinalist. The junior spearheaded the team's fundraising efforts for the Light The Night Walk, which supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Over the past three years, the team has raised more than $5000 for the cause, which it participates in in honor of Courtney's father Mike, who lost his battle with lymphoma in 2010.
Courtney is the most recent All-Big Ten honoree for the Boilermakers. Purdue softball has boasted at least one all-conference selection every season since 2007, marking 15 honors. Courtney is the first Purdue first baseman so honored since Heidi Foster garnered third team honors in 2003, following first team selection in 2001.
Courtney also received all-conference nods from College Sports Madness. The website named Courtney as a first team selection in the infield and sophomore Lindsey Rains as a first team selection in the outfield. Outfielder Andie Varsho garnered second team acclaim from the site, while head coach Kim Maher was named as College Sports Madness Big Ten Coach of the Year.
The Boilermakers posted a 31-22 mark in 2012, including a program-best 10-0 start. The team managed a 13-10 record in Big Ten play, good for a sixth-place tie, but was in contention for the conference title entering the final three-game series. The 13 conference wins were the second most in program lore, behind the 14-12 effort in 1997. The 30-win season marked the 14th in program history, while the winning record secured Purdue's 14th straight .500 or better season.