February 27, 2022ย 

Aneesah Morrow belongs at the top

The national freshman of the year frontrunner has notched 23 straight double-doubles

When DePaul freshman Aneesah Morrow received the news that she was on the Naismith Trophy National Player of the Year Award list, she knew she belonged there.

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“I wouldn’t say I was surprised. That wasn’t one of my reactions,” Morrow told The Next when asked about her response to the news. “But I will say that I always think of it as like a blessing. All the work and everything I’ve put in is actually paying off and being acknowledged.”

Morrow has good reason for her confidence. The 6’1 power forward leads the nation in rebounding, offensive rebounding and total rebounds per game. She also ranks second in field goals, fourth in points and sixth in steals. In addition, during the week of Feb. 21, she was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week for a record 12th consecutive time, eclipsing Connecticut’s Maya Moore, Georgetown’s Natalie Butler and Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist (10 times each).

She also leads the nation in consecutive double-doubles with 23 straight, more than South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston. Boston is the overwhelming favorite for National Player of the Year and recently broke Sylvia Fowles’ SEC record for most double-doubles (currently at 21 straight).

Hometown heroics

Chicago native Morrow has already begun to craft her legacy in Illinois state basketball. In 2020, she led Simeon Academy to a 35-2 record and the girls’ basketball program’s first state championship during her junior season. Her junior season she averaged 28.4 points, 14.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and nearly three steals a game.

During her pandemic-shortened senior season, Morrow decided to stay in her hometown and play for DePaul head coach Doug Bruno.

“One of my main decisions for coming to DePaul was how consistent the coaching staff was with recruiting me. Sometimes with like certain organizations, you don’t get that consistency. It’s like they’re very interested in you in the beginning, but they don’t put the work in towards the end,” Morrow said. “But coach Bruno was consistent. He was very consistent with recruiting me since seventh grade.”

Morrow started off strong for the Blue Demons, notching 31 points in her first collegiate game. She has made a major impact on the program even in this early phase of her career.

“We’ve had some very good freshmen here, but I don’t think anyone has made this kind of national impact this quickly,” head coach Doug Bruno said.

Position-less basketball

Perhaps the most frightening part of Morrow’s game for opponents is that she’s been dominating this season out of position. Listed as a power forward, she actually considers herself a guard.

Just 31 games into her collegiate career, Morrow has achieved scoring-rebounding double-doubles in 74% of her games. Most of her production on the court comes close to the basket in the form of two-point field goals and rebounds. At the same time, she has hit 11 of 50 three-point shots attempted (22%) this season.

“The thing that makes my game unique is that–I’m doing certain things now, making history–but that’s not my game. I’m actually like a guard. So just knowing how much more I can bring to a program,” Morrow told The Next. “I could shoot the three and I could shoot the jumper. I could dribble, and I have guard skills. And knowing I’m being super dominant inside it makes me super excited about the years, the years to come.”

The freshman also knows the importance of strength and conditioning to growing her game at the collegiate level.

“I know things I want to get better at…I will say in high school, I didn’t have a strength coach. We just went in and played basketball; we had practice and stuff. I feel like being an athlete and putting your body through a lot physically–having a strength coach and a nutritionist has really helped me. It tells me like things that I need to work on with my diet, the proper way to lift weights, get stronger and healthier.”

If Morrow can build her strength and her teammates can find ways to get her open for three-point shots more consistently, she has the potential to develop into one of the most complete players in college basketball.

BIG EAST heads to Uncasville

The BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament will be played at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, this week, March 4-7. The tournament will kick off Friday, March 4, with the 8-seed versus the 9-seed. Both UConn (1-seed) and DePaul (4-seed) have a first-round bye and begin play on Saturday, March 5.

Visit for the most up-to-date information about the BIG EAST Tournament, including the bracket and ticket information.

Written by Tee Baker

Tee has been a contributor to The Next since March Madness 2021 and is currently a contributing editor, BIG EAST beat reporter and curator of historical deep dives.

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