AUS women's basketball award winners announced

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UPEI's Jenna Jones receives Tracy MacLeod Award nomination

Fifth-year Saint Mary’s Huskies guard Justine Colley was named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player, Thursday night for the second year in a row.

Other AUS major award winners announced during the awards banquet at the Rodd Charlottetown were Cape Breton’s Alison Keough of Marion Bridge, N.S., who was named rookie of the year; St. F.X.’s Rebecca Sheehan of Fredericton, who was selected as the defensive player of the year; UPEI’s Jenna Jones of Riverview, N.B., who is the AUS Tracy MacLeod Award nominee; Dalhousie’s Robbi Daley of Fredericton, who the AUS Sylvia Sweeney Award nominee; and Cape Breton Capers head coach Fabian McKenzie, who was named the coach of the year.

Most valuable player

Colley is a five-foot-nine, fifth-year guard with the country’s second-ranked Huskies.

A native of East Preston, N.S., Colley led the conference in scoring for the fourth consecutive season. Her 20.8 points per game average and 415 total season points were third highest in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) scoring this season.

The 2012-13 winner of the CIS Nann Copp Award for player of the year, Colley will leave her mark on both the AUS and CIS records books.

Her CIS-leading 565 total points scored during the 2012-13 season established a new AUS single-season mark. She sits tied for fourth in the AUS record books for the most points scored in a single game, having posted 43 points on Nov. 4, 2010 in a game against the Acadia Axewomen.

Most notably, Colley’s total career points scored tally 2,376 following her final season with the Huskies. This is more career points than any other women’s basketball student-athlete has ever posted in AUS and CIS history.

Now a first-team AUS all-star in each of her five seasons with the Huskies and a three-time CIS all-Canadian, Colley also led the AUS in field goals this season with 146, free throws with 110, assists with 114 and steals with 76.

Saint Mary’s finished first in the AUS conference standings this season, with an unblemished 20-0 regular season record.

“This is a well-deserved accomplishment for one of the top players that has ever played in the conference,” said Huskies head coach Scott Munro. “A great leader over the past five seasons, no one has played harder on a nightly basis. Justine has impacted games in so many ways over the past the five seasons, it is hard to put in words. Winning the conference MVP for a second straight time is a tremendous accomplishment with the level of talent in the league. Justine has had a team-first attitude since day one and she has been greatly responsible for much of our team success.”

Colley is the third Saint Mary’s player to win the AUS most valuable player award, joining Julie Galipeau and Jadranka Crnogorac, who were awarded the top prize in the conference in 2000-01 and 1997-98 respectively.

After becoming the first-ever AUS women’s basketball player to take home CIS MVP honours last season, Colley will look to join the ranks of CIS players to earn back-to-back Nan Copp Awards.

Rookie of the year

Keough is the fourth player from the Capers to claim the AUS rookie of the year award. Teammate Colleen Keane took home the honour last year for Cape Breton and former Capers standouts Amanda Fisher and Janice Moseychuck earned rookie of the year nods in 1998-99 and 1994-95 respectively.

The six-foot-one forward has made an immediate impact with the Capers, starting in all 20 games and finishing first in team scoring with an average of 16 points per game.

Keough was second overall in the conference this season in offensive rebounds (53), defensive rebounds (144) and rebounds per game (9.8). She was third overall in blocks with 22 and fourth in field goals with 127.

“Alison has made an immediate impact on our program here at CBU,” said Capers head coach Fabian McKenzie. “She is often a primary focus in the opposition’s scouting report. Her athletic ability allows her to be a threat away from the basket and in the paint. At the defensive end, she does a great job of rebounding the ball, while at the offensive end, she uses her agility to get offensive rebounds and convert them for easy scores.”

“Alison has been a pleasure to have on our roster this year,” McKenzie added. “She has a tenacious work ethic and an incredible desire to improve. Throughout most of our games this year, she has played with the poise of a veteran player. She is a tremendous young lady with a very bright future.”

Keough will represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the Kathy Shields Award.

Vanessa Pickard of St. F.X. (2011-12) and Claire Colborne of UNB (2010-11) are the most recent AUS players to win the CIS rookie of the year award.

Defensive player of the year

A native of Fredericton, Sheehan averaged 7.1 points and four rebounds per game as a senior. The fifth-year human kinetics student was second overall in the conference in steals this season with 70 and third in assists with 73.

“I am so pleased to see Rebecca get the AUS defensive player of the year award,” said X-Women head coach Augy Jones. “Defensive effectiveness is hard to quantify with stats, so to be recognized by other coaches is fantastic. Rebecca is a terrific defensive player who takes real pride in that aspect of her basketball game.”

Sheehan is just the third St. F.X. player to be recognized as the AUS women’s basketball defensive player of the year since the inception of this award following the 2000-01 season. Former St. F.X. standout Nikki Doucet took home the award in its inaugural year and Ashley Stephen earned the honour twice for the X-Women, in 2008-09 and 2010-11.

An AUS player has yet to be named the CIS defensive player of the year.

Coach of the year

McKenzie won the award for the fifth time in his 15 years at the helm of the Capers program.

McKenzie is one of just two Capers coaches to earn the AUS honour. Former Cape Breton coach Ron Carew won the award following the 1995-96 season.

After missing the post-season last year with only six regular season wins, McKenzie’s Capers squad was much improved this season, finishing third in the AUS standings with an 11-9 record.

They averaged 64.8 points per game and 35.3 rebounds. They added 14.8 assists per game and 9.1 steals.

Outside of his extensive career with the Capers squad, Coach McKenzie has worked with the Canadian women’s national team, travelling to China, Serbia, Japan and Spain in various roles for the team.

Locally, he has been named the Cape Breton Sports Heritage Awards coach of the year twice and he was the 2008 recipient of the Red Bob MacDonald award for his contributions to basketball in Cape Breton.

“We are very pleased to see Fabian recognized as AUS coach of the year for the fifth time in his career with the Capers,” said Cape Breton athletic director John Ryan. “His ability to recruit quality student-athletes and mold them into well-rounded young women is a testament to his work ethic and coaching philosophy. Fabian’s teams come to compete every night and he has worked hard to earn the respect of his players and his peers across the CIS with his team-first mentality.”

Both Capers coaches McKenzie and Carew have been recognized with CIS women’s basketball coach of the year nods. McKenzie took home the honour in 2005-06 and Carew in 1995-96.

Coach McKenzie is the most recent AUS nominee to earn the national award.

Tracy MacLeod Award

Jones, a fourth-year kinesiology student, is the AUS recipient of the Tracy MacLeod Award, which is presented to a player demonstrating determination, perseverance and unwavering spirit to continue playing the game of basketball.

The five-foot-eight guard from Riverview, N.B., played in 16 regular season games this year despite facing multiple injuries, averaging 15.1 minutes per game.

Jones has battled patella tendon tears in both knees throughout her four-year career with the Panthers.

This past summer, she underwent experimental platelet rich plasma injections in both knees. She then repeated the procedure during the season break in December. Initially expected to miss the first half of the season, Jones put the second procedure off until the season break and was cleared to play in the fall.

She contributed an average of 4.9 points and 2.2 rebounds per game, shooting 32.3 per cent from the floor and 22.2 from three-point range.

“I am so pleased that Jenna has been honored as this year’s recipient of the Tracy MacLeod Award,” said Panthers head coach Greg Gould. “I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award. Despite the excruciating pain, Jenna has done everything humanly possible to be able to practice and play this season. Although restricted in her activities because of pain, she never complains. Her love of the game and her desire to help her team in whatever role possible makes her one of the toughest, most dedicated and unselfish players I have ever coached.”

Jones is now the AUS nominee for the CIS Tracy MacLeod award. The only two AUS players to take home the national honour have been Memorial’s Brittany Dalton (2010-11) and Dalhousie’s Janet Wells (1999-00).

Student-athlete community service

A fifth-year student in her fourth year of eligibility hailing from Fredericton, Daley is a team captain and an active volunteer in her community.

Playing in all 20 regular season games for Dalhousie this season, Daley contributed an average of eight points and three rebounds per game, shooting 35.3 per cent from the floor and 28.1 per cent from three-point range.

Daley spearheaded the Dal-Cal community outreach program where the Caledonia Junior High School basketball team got the opportunity to visit the Tigers on campus. The visit included a campus tour, basketball activities and games, a goal-setting session where students laid out academic and athletic ambitions and a group meal.

Daley and her fellow Tigers invited Caledonia’s team to come and enjoy one of their games and the Tigers also took one of their team practices off to go and watch a basketball game at the junior high.

Further to her volunteer work with the Dal-Cal program, Daley is a volunteer with the Canadian Martyrs Basketball Club as well as with St. Mary’s Elementary School. She also volunteers with Opal Family Services, an organization which provides respite for parents who have a child or adult dependent with an intellectual disability.

“Robbi is our senior captain and an active and passionate volunteer with so many groups,” said Tigers head coach Anna Stammberger. “She is always so caring and willing to donate her time and positive energy to those in need.”

Daley now becomes the AUS nominee for the CIS Sylvia Sweeney Award for most outstanding student-athlete. An Atlantic University Sport women’s basketball student-athlete has yet to earn this honour.

All-stars and all-rookie teams

The Atlantic University Sport first and second team all-stars were also announced Thursday, along with this year's all-rookie team.

First Team All-Stars –
Justine Colley, Saint Mary’s (5th year – East Preston, N.S.)
Rachelle Coward, Saint Mary’s (4th year – Dartmouth, N.S.)
Lia St. Pierre, StFX (5th year – Moncton, N.B.)
Tessa Stammberger, Dalhousie (3rd year – Halifax, N.S.)
Abbey Duinker, Acadia (5th year – Cambridge, N.S.)

Second Team All-Stars –
Alison Keough, Cape Breton (1st year – Marion Bridge, N.S.)
Sandra Amoah, Memorial (2nd year – Toronto, Ont.)
Kolbi Roper, StFX (3rd year – North Vancouver, B.C.)
Courtney Thompson, Dalhousie (4th year, Saint John, N.B.)
Laura Langille, Saint Mary’s (3rd year – Bedford, N.S.)

All-Rookie Team –
Alison Keough, Cape Breton (Marion Bridge, N.S.)
Chante Clarke, Memorial (Toronto, Ont.)
Shalyn Field, Dalhousie (Sackville, N.S.)
Emily MacLeod, Acadia (Fredericton, N.B.)
Sydney Stewart, Memorial (London, Ont.)

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport, Tigers, Panthers Dal-Cal Caledonia Junior High School Canadian Martyrs Basketball Club Opal Family Services

Geographic location: Cape Breton, Saint Mary, Fredericton Marion Bridge Riverview East Preston China Serbia Japan Spain Toronto, Ont Dartmouth Moncton Halifax Cambridge North Vancouver Saint John Bedford London, Ont.

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