Tess Bruffey was named the Heartland Conference Female Athlete of the Year for 2017-18. The award was the first Female Athlete of the Year honor in conference history following a vote of the league's sports information directors.
Tess Bruffey capped her stellar career leading the Lady Chaps to the Elite Eight for the second time in three years. Bruffey was named the Heartland Women's Basketball Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, marking the first women's basketball player to accomplish the feat since Incarnate Word's Nia Torru in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. She also became the first women's basketball player to win both the Player and Defensive Player of the Year award in the same season. Bruffey was named to two All-America teams earning honors from both the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (D2CCA) and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).
The Lubbock, Texas native led the conference in blocks per game with 3.9 and set a conference record in total blocks for both a career (401) and single season (129). The senior ranks 19th in Division II history in single-season blocks and was second in total blocks among DII players this season. She also ranked among the conference leaders in several categories in points per game (15.1, 3rd), rebounds per game (8.5, 2nd) and field goal percentage (.419, 6th). Bruffey closed her career with a 55-2 (96.5%) playing record inside Rip Griffin Center, and she was on the winning side for the final 50 straight home games she played in.
The Heartland Conference Female Athlete of the Year award was voted on by the league's sports information directors. Institutions were allowed to nominate one female for consideration of the award.