OUA announces 2015-16 Women's Basketball Major Awards and All-Stars

OUA announces 2015-16 Women's Basketball Major Awards and All-Stars

BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is excited to announce the 2015-16 women's basketball major awards and all-stars.

In her fifth and final season, Ryerson Rams guard Keneca Pingue-Giles (Winnipeg, Man) had a season to remember and becomes the first player in program history to be named OUA Player of Year.

Pingue-Giles, who is currently pursuing her Masters of public policy & admin, finished the season averaging 17.6 points per game, to go along with 77 assists and 130 rebounds as she led the Rams to a 16-3 record and a first place finish in the OUA East division.

The Winnipeg, Man. native was also named OUA Defensive Player of Year after leading the conference with 79 steals.  Pingue-Giles was a force on the glass for the Rams as she finished third on the team with 4.6 defensive rebounds per game.  She becomes the first Rams player to win Defensive Player of the Year since former Ryerson standout Lacey O'Sullivan won award in 2009-10.

Pingue-Giles has also been named an OUA all-star for the third-time in her career.  This is the second consecutive season she has been selected to the first-team after being named an OUA East Division second-team all-star in 2013-14.

The Rams will also be represented this season on the first-team by forward Sofia Paska (Etobicoke, Ont.), who is an all-star for the first time in her career. 

After being selected to the all-rookie team a season ago, there was no signs of a sophomore slump for Paska as she averaged 9.5 rebounds per game and finished in the top 10 in league scoring with 15.2 points per game.  The second-year early childhood studies student-athlete led the conference with 86 defensive rebounds and finished third after shooting 52.0 percent from the field.

Following a season in which they led the Queen's Gaels to a 14-5 regular season record and a second place finish in the OUA East division, guard Jenny Wright (Kingston, Ont.) and power forward Robyn Pearson (Toronto, Ont.) will bring home first-team all-star honours.

In her fifth and final season with the hometown Gaels, Wright finished in the top 20 in several statistical categories, including: points per game (12.3), blocks (13), rebounds per game (6.4) and three-point field goal percentage (32.1).  The Kingston, Ont. native concludes her Queen's career as a three-time first-team all-star (2014-15, 2013-14) after being named a divisional all-rookie in 2011-12.

Pearson joins Wright on the first-team after the fourth-year commerce student-athlete led the conference in rebounding.  The Toronto, Ont. native grabbed 206 boards in 19 games this season for the Gaels (10.8 rebounds per game) to rank first in OUA.  Pearson also finished ninth in the conference with a 46.6 field goal percentage.  She is an OUA all-star for the first-time in her career.

After appearing in all 19 games in her first season with the Gaels, Myriam Fontaine (Cornwall, Ont.) has been selected to the OUA all-rookie team.

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees raced out of the gates this season and there was no catching them as they finished with a league best 17-2 record and the top overall seed for the Critelli Cup.  For his efforts behind the bench, uOttawa head coach Andy Sparks has been named OUA Coach of the Year.  This is the fourth time that Sparks has won the award in his career.  He was named East division Coach of the Year in 2008-09 and again in back-to-back seasons in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

On the court, the Gee-Gees were led this season by guard/forward Kellie Ring (Ottawa, Ont.) who has been named a first-team all-star for the second time in her career.  Ring, who was also selected to the East division squad in 2012-13, averaged 11.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for her hometown Gee-Gees.  The fourth-year communications major appeared in 17 games this season and not only led Ottawa with 4.3 assists per game but her fifth-best assist to turnover ratio in the province proved she could also take care of the ball.

Two Gee-Gees have been made second-team selections as Catherine Traer (Chelsea, Que.) and Julia Soriano (Toronto, Ont.) have been rewarded following strong seasons.  Despite playing in just 14 games, Traer finished fourth in OUA averaging 16.0 points per game.  Soriano averaged 33.2 minutes per game for the Gee-Gees and finished second in the conference in three-point field goal percentage (44.2).  Both players are first-time all-star after being teammates on the 2012-13 all-rookie team.

The Tracy McLeod Award is given annually to a female student-athlete in recognition of determination, perseverance, and unwavering spirit, and this year is awarded to Gee-Gees guard Krista van Slingerland (Waterloo, Ont.).

Now in her fifth OUA season, van Slingerland is the co-founder of the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI), a national non-profit organization that focuses on improving the services offered to student-athletes dealing with mental health issues.  The Waterloo, Ont. native missed 10 weeks in the fall after suffering a concussion but finished the season strong for the Gee-Gees.  Van Slingerland, who is currently completing a human kinetics masters, has been accepted into a PhD program and will continue her research.   

Now in her third season in the league, Western Mustangs guard Mackenzie Puklicz (London, Ont.) established herself as a leader of her hometown team this year and has been named an OUA all-star for the first time in her career.  Puklicz, who was named West division Rookie of the Year in 2013-14, is a first-team all-star after she led the conference in scoring, averaging 18.6 points per game.  The third-year student-athlete who attends King's College, also ranked in top 15 in three-point field goal percentage (33.0%), steals (40) and free throws made (71).

The future continues to look bright for Western as for the second time in three seasons, the Mustangs roster features the OUA Rookie of the Year.  Appearing in 17 games in her freshman season, Western forward Julia Curran (Waterloo, Ont.) averaged a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game.  The Waterloo, Ont. native finished fourth in team scoring with 6.8 points per game.  Curran, who was also named an OUA all-rookie, is the seventh Mustangs player since 1988-89 to win the award.

Caroline Wolynski (London, Ont.) was a true workhorse this season for her hometown Mustangs as the fifth-year student-athlete from King's College averaged 33.9 minutes per game to lead OUA.  Wolynski, who was named a second-team all-star for the second straight season, finished second in the league with 50 steals, while her 89 assists ranked her third.

The McMaster Marauders finished the regular season ranked No. 8 in the CIS Top 10 and were led by guard Danielle Boiago (Hamilton, Ont.), who has been named an OUA first-team all-star for the second consecutive season.  Now in her fourth season with her hometown team, the Hamilton, Ont. native finished third in league scoring, averaging 17.4 points per game.  Not only was Bioago a threat for the Marauders on offensive, but the kinesiology major also controlled the defensive glass, snatching 110 rebounds to rank third in the conference.  After being named to the West division all-rookie team in 2012-13, Boiago has been either a first or second-team all-star in each of her next three seasons.

For the second consecutive season, McMaster power forward Clare Kenney (Gananoque, Ont.) is an OUA second-team all-star after the fourth-year geography major ranked fifth in blocks (18) and rebounds (176).

Representing the three-time defending champion Windsor Lancers this season is power forward Cheyanne Roger (Etobicoke, Ont.), who is an OUA all-star for the second time in her career.  This is the second consecutive season Roger has been named a first-team all-star selection after leading the conference with 40 blocks and finishing in the top 10 in league scoring with 14.7 points per game.  Roger got to the free throw line 138 times this season and converted on 75.4 percent of those opportunities.  The third-year human kinetics major also finished ninth in the conference with 8.6 rebounds per game.

Windsor Lancers centre Emily Prevost (Montreal, QC) is an OUA all-star for the first time in her caeer after the third-year human kinetics major finished eighth in field goal percentage (49.3) and rebounds per game (9.1).  The Montreal, QC native averaged 14.3 points per game in 20 contests this season.

Following a fantastic freshman season Kaylee Anagnostopoulos (Waterloo, Ont.) is the Lancers lone representative on the all-rookie team.

When Carleton forward Heather Lindsay (Ottawa, Ont.) was on the floor this season she was virtually unstoppable and is the Ravens lone first-team all-star representative.  In her third-year with her hometown Ravens, Lindsay finished second in OUA with 10.5 rebounds per game and led the league with a 52.9 shooting percent.  The third-year environmental studies major averaged 15.9 points per game to rank fifth; however, her 25.5 points per 40 minutes led the conference.  She finished tied for first in OUA with 11 double-doubles in 19 games. Lindsay is an OUA all-star for the first time in her career after earning 2013-14 Rookie of the Year honours alongside fellow first-teamer Mackenzie Puklicz.

After being named to the all-rookie team a season ago, Ravens' forward Elizabeth Leblanc (London, Ont.) is an OUA second-team all-star in just her sophomore season.  The second-year psychology major was Carleton's second leading scorer after averaging 9.5 points per game.

Laurier Golden Hawks guard Nicole Morrison (Hamilton, Ont.) rounds out the OUA first-team all-star selections as the third-year communication studies major is an all-star for the first time in her career.  Morrison started all 20 games this season for the Golden Hawks and led the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game, which ranked her sixth in OUA.  She became just the fourth player in Golden Hawks history to ever score 300 points in a single season  The Hamilton, Ont. native finished the season tenth in OUA with 60 assists.

The Golden Hawks' guard Irena Rynkiewicz (Mississauga, Ont.) will represent Laurier on the OUA all-rookie team after walking on to the team in the fall and appearing in 17 games in her first season in the league.

A season after being named OUA Rookie of the Year, Guelph Gryphons guard Bridget Atkinson (Welland, Ont.) is an OUA all-star after being selected to the second-team.  The second-year sociology student-athlete finished in the top 10 in steals (66) and assists (68).  Her 11.8 points per game were second highest on the team, trailing only fellow second team all-star Katherine MacTavish (Waterloo, Ont.).

In her fifth season with the Gryphons, MacTavish has been named an OUA all-star for the third time in her career.  The Waterloo, Ont. native was named a first-team all-star in 2014-15 and to the West division second-team the previous season.  Mactavish led the Gryphons with 14.9 points per game which ranked her ninth in the conference.  She was clutch from the charity stripe this season as she led OUA with an 89.6 free throw percentage.

Following in the footsteps of Atkinson and MacTavish, Abbey Clark (Hamilton, Ont.) will represent the Gryphons on the all-rookie team.

University of Toronto Varsity Blues co-captain and fifth-year guard Abena Addo (Brampton, Ont.) is the OUA nominee for the Joy Bellinger Award, presented annually to the student-athlete who excels in academics, athletics, and community service. 

Addo, who spent three seasons in RSEQ with the McGill Martlets, is the founder and CEO of Aspire for Higher Elite Basketball, an organization that provides athletic and leadership training to over 1000 young student-athletes. The Brampton, Ont. native has been heavily involved in local community initiatives and was a 2014 City of Toronto Community Impact Award finalist for significant contributions to the community through athletic leadership and mobilizing participants. Last year at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, Addo served as a Young Diplomat of Canada Delegate where she was responsible for representing Canada's views on investment and infrastructure.  Addo, who is currently pursuing her Masters of Civil Engineering, is a member of a transportation engineering research group at U of T that is working to investigate air pollution at intersections in dense urban areas.

This is the fourth time in program history and first time since 2007-08 when former Blues standout Christine Cho won the award.

The Blues are represented on the second-team by third-year guard Rahshida Atkinson (Scarborough, Ont.) after she finished the season in seventh place, averaging 15.6 points per game.  The geography major, who is a first-time all-star, also finished in the top 10 in three-point field goal percentage (35.6).

First-year criminology major Keyira Parkes (Scarborough, Ont.) will represent the University of Toronto on the OUA all-rookie team following an outstanding first season in the league.

Parkes will be joined on the team by Katrina Collins-Samuels (Hamilton, Ont.) and Sandra Nagowska (Peterborough, Ont.) of the rival York Lions.

Brock Badgers sophomore guard Melissa Tatti (Ancaster, Ont.) is the final member of the OUA second-team a year removed from being named an all-rookie.  The Ancaster, Ont. native averaged 10.2 points per game to go along with 47 assists in 17 games for the Badgers.

Tatti's teammate Chrissy Sirignano (St. Catharines, Ont.) and Alexe Galipeau-Wilson (Ottawa, Ont.) of the Nipissing Lakers round out the OUA all-rookie team selections.

OUA Major Award Winners

Player of the Year: Keneca Pingue-Giles – Ryerson Rams
Defensive Player of the Year: Keneca Pingue-Giles – Ryerson Rams
Rookie of the Year: Julia Curran – Western Mustangs
Joy Bellinger Award: Abena Addo – Toronto Varsity Blues
Tracy McLeod Award: Krista van Slingerland – Ottawa Gee-Gees
Coach of the Year: Andy Sparks – Ottawa Gee-Gees

OUA First-Team All-Stars

Keneca Pingue-Giles – Ryerson Rams
Sofia Paska – Ryerson Rams
Jenny Wright – Queen's Gaels
Robyn Pearson – Queen's Gaels
Heather Lindsay – Carleton Ravens
Nicole Morrison – Laurier Golden Hawks
Danielle Boiago – McMaster Marauders
Kellie Ring – Ottawa Gee-Gees
Mackenzie Puklicz – Western Mustangs
Cheyanne Roger – Windsor Lancers

OUA Second-Team All-Stars

Bridget Atkinson – Guelph Gryphons
Kate MacTavish – Guelph Gryphons
Melissa Tatti – Brock Badgers
Elizabeth LeBlanc – Carleton Ravens
Clare Kenney – McMaster Marauders
Julia Soriano – Ottawa Gee-Gees
Catherine Traer Ottawa Gee-Gees
Rahsida Atkinson – Toronto Varsity Blues
Caroline Wolynski – Western Mustangs
Emily Prevost – Windsor Lancers

OUA All-Rookie Team

Sandra Nagowska – York Lions
Katrina Collins-Samuels – York Lions
Chrissy Sirignano – Brock Badgers
Abbey Clark – Guelph Gryphons
Irena Rynkiewicz – Laurier Golden Hawks
Alexe Galipeau-Wilson – Nipissing Lakers
Myriam Fontaine – Queen's Gaels
Keyira Parkes – Toronto Varsity Blues
Julia Curran – Western Mustangs
Kaylee Anagnostopoulous – Windsor Lancers