FREDERICTON (CIS) – Keneca Pingue-Giles, a fifth-year guard from Ryerson University, was named the CIS player of the year in women's basketball, Wednesday night.
Pingue-Giles, a master's student from Winnipeg, not only became the first Nan Copp Award winner in school history, she is also the first Ryerson female in any sport to be selected as CIS MVP.
Other CIS award recipients announced during the All-Canadian Celebration held at The Playhouse in Fredericton were Saint Mary's guard Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse, who was named the defensive player of the year; Alberta forward Brooklyn Legault, who captured the Kathy Shields Award as the top rookie; McGill bench boss Ryan Thorne, who earned the Peter Ennis Award as TIMEX coach of the year; Dalhousie forward Ainsley MacIntyre, who merited the Sylvia Sweeney Award which recognizes excellence in basketball, academics and community service; as well as Ottawa guard Krista Van Slingerland, who was presented with the Tracy MacLeod Award for her determination and perseverance.
The ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS championship gets under way Thursday at the University of New Brunswick's Richard J. Currie Center and culminates Sunday at 1 p.m. Atlantic Time (12 noon Eastern) with the national final, live on Sportsnet 360. Saturday's semifinals are live on Sportsnet ONE (12 noon & 2:30 p.m. Atlantic) and all 11 games from the eight-team tournament will also be streamed on www.CIS-SIC.tv.
NAN COPP AWARD (player of the year): Keneca Pingue-Giles, Ryerson
Pingue-Giles was so dominant at both ends of the court in her final university season, she was also voted the OUA defensive player of the year. The 5-foot-7 finished second in the Ontario conference and seventh in the country in scoring with 17.6 points per game, ranked first in the nation in steals (4.2 rpg), and was fifth in the OUA in assists (4.1 apg). The most utilized player on the Ryerson roster with 29.5 minutes per contest, she also contributed 6.8 rebounds per outing, good for third on the team.
Her stellar play helped the Rams top the OUA East standings for the second straight campaign with a 16-3 record and take second place in the OUA RPI ratings. A year removed from making their first appearance at the CIS Final Eight, Pingue-Giles and the Rams were ranked no lower than fifth in the nation for the duration of the 2015-16 season.
For her career, Pingue-Giles, criminology graduate and current master's of public policy and administration student, sits third on the all-time Ryerson list in both scoring and assists, fifth in rebounds, and second in steals.
"Keneca has been a trailblazer during her time at Ryerson. In addition to her relentless competitiveness being a major part of establishing our program as a national contender, individually she has improved every year and this is a testament to what can be accomplished with dedication, drive and passion," said head coach Carly Clarke. "As the first Ryerson female student-athlete to be recognized with this award, I am incredibly proud of the impact she has had and the legacy she will leave with our women's basketball program, Ryerson athletics, and our university as a whole."
The other nominees were guard Paloma Anderson of Acadia, forward Jessica Lubin of UQAM and guard Laura Dally of Saskatchewan.
DEFENSIVE MVP: Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse, Saint Mary's
After being honoured at the conference level in each of her first two seasons with the Huskies, Luberisse became the first AUS player to be named CIS defensive MVP since the inception of the national award in 2001.
The 5-foot-7 guard, who started all 20 league games this season, led the AUS and was second in the country in steals with 3.4 per game. She also ranked second on the team with 6.9 rebounds and was the all-around leader of a defensive unit that allowed only 54.0 points per contest, good for first in the conference and second in the nation. The Montreal native also chipped in offensively with 11.0 points per outing.
The awards are quickly piling up for Luberisse, who was named a second-team AUS all-star this season after earning a spot on the first squad a year ago in her Saint Mary's debut.
"Kennisha is very deserving of this award. she guards the opposition's top perimeter player every game. She can guard positions 1-4 on the floor on any given night. She is also relied upon to disrupt the other team's offence, be it in the full court or the half court," said head coach Scott Munro. "Kennisha is relentless in her pursuit of the ball when rebounding on both the offensive and defensive glass. She is a game-changer defensively and played a huge part in the Huskies overall defence this season."
The other nominees were guards Quételine Célestin of UQAM, Keneca Pingue-Giles of Ryerson and Jessilyn Fairbanks of Alberta.
KATHY SHIELDS AWARD (rookie of the year): Brooklyn Legault, Alberta
Legault is the first Panda and only the sixth player from Canada West to claim the Kathy Shields Award, which debuted in 1990.
The 6-foot-1 forward from North Vancouver made an immediate impact for Alberta this season, starting 19 of 20 conference games and helping the Pandas to a 17-3 record and the fourth seed at the Canada West Final Four.
Playing just under 23 minutes per contest, Legault averaged 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in league play, including 2.7 offensive boards. Her most impressive stat however was undoubtedly her 20 blocks in as many outings, which ranked seventh in the conference. She reached double digits in scoring six times, including a pair of 12-point performances, her season high.
"Brooklyn has improved so rapidly over the course of this season," said head coach Scott Edwards. "To start every game in such a tough conference as a rookie is a difficult task. She was able to perform so well because she is so coachable, and her basketball intelligence is really high. We are thrilled to see her progress so far and look forward to the future for Brooklyn."
The other nominees were guard Chelsea Provo of St. Francis Xavier, guard Gladys Hakizimana of McGill and forward Julia Curran of Western.
PETER ENNIS AWARD (TIMEX coach of the year): Ryan Thorne, McGill
Thorne became the first McGill bench boss to receive the Peter Ennis Award since the trophy was initiated in 1977-78.
A 41-year-old resident of Ile-Bizard, Que., he guided the Martlets to their fifth straight first-place finish in Quebec, posting a stellar 15-1 record and the nation's stingiest defence, allowing just 50.7 points per game. His troops also led the CIS in steals per game (6.5) and blocked shots (4.1), were second in free-throw percentage (76.2) and fifth in three-point shooting (33.8). The team also reached the top of the national rankings for the first time in program history, earning the No. 1 spot in each of the last three coaches' polls of the campaign.
Now in his 13th season as head coach at McGill, Thorne enters the CIS Final Eight championship with a 204-172 career record in 376 games overall, including a 116-93 regular season mark. A six-time recipient of the RSEQ coach-of-the-year award, Thorne has also coached various Quebec provincial teams and was an assistant coach at the 2015 FISU Summer Games in South Korea.
"We are very proud of Ryan and the hard work he has put into guiding the Martlets to the top of the CIS rankings," said Phil Quintal, interim director of athletics and recreation. "Not only has he put together a team that demonstrates excellence on the court, Ryan has also assembled a group of players that excel in the classroom. He is to be applauded for recruiting and developing some of the best student-athletes in the country and setting the highest of standards for himself and all involved with the Martlet basketball program."
The other nominees were Scott Munro of Saint Mary's, Andy Sparks of Ottawa and Lisa Thomaidis of Saskatchewan.
SYLVIA SWEENEY AWARD: Ainsley MacIntyre, Dalhousie
MacIntyre is the first Dalhousie player to receive the Sweeney Award, which was first presented in 1994.
On the court, the 5-foot-11 forward from Sydney, N.S., had an outstanding fourth season with the Tigers starting all 19 league games she competed in and averaging 10.9 points per contest.
A neuroscience student, the list of her accomplishments off the court is truly impressive. She is president of the Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI) Dalhousie Campus Team, where her duties include organizing and chairing weekly meetings to reach their objective of raising awareness and removing the stigma associated with Mental Health issues. The group had various awareness and fund raising events and their main initiative was the "Mental Health Match" where the theme was "make some noise for Mental Health" at Dal basketball games.
MacIntyre also volunteers every Sunday afternoon at the Ronald MacDonald House; she is a regular participant at the Dalhousie Special Tigers Days which occur three times each semester and consists of physical activity and play with special needs children and young adults; she is an assistant coach of the Halifax Grammar School senior girls basketball team, and represents the Tigers women's basketball team on the Dalhousie Varsity Council.
MacIntyre and the Tigers also participated in the Halifax Run for the Cure this past October and, at the team's Shoot for the Cure game in January, she raised $2,700 and donated eight inches of her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.
"Ainsley has developed into a strong and positive leader this year. On the court, in the classroom and in the locker room as well as in the community," said head coach Anna Stammberger. "She's not only involved in a wide variety of activities, but is also the leader in many of these groups and is passionate about helping others. Her leadership with the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI) is very important for our Dalhousie student-athletes. In my opinion, Ainsley's excellence in the classroom, on the court and in the community as a volunteer and leader makes her an outstanding role model for all of us and she is very deserving of this award."
The other nominees were forward Jennifer Silver of McGill, guard Abena Addo of Toronto and forward Kelly Fagan of MacEwan.
TRACY MacLEOD AWARD: Krista Van Slingerland, Ottawa
Van Slingerland is the second straight Gee-Gee to receive the Tracy MacLeod Award, succeeding current teammate Kellie Ring.
The fifth-year wing from Waterloo, Ont. missed 10 weeks in the fall semester after suffering a concussion during preseason which resulted in severe symptoms. She ended up appearing in 13 regular season games, bringing tenacity and a veteran presence each time she stepped onto the court.
Van Slingerland had also made a return to the hardcourt with the Gee-Gees in 2014-15 after a year off from basketball due to mental illness. Currently completing a human kinetics master's, she has been accepted into a PhD program and will continue her research.
Van Slingerland is a co-founder of the non-profit organization SAMHI (The Student Athlete-Mental Health Initiative), which over the past two years has grown a network of ambassadors across the country focussed on improving the services offered to student-athletes dealing with mental health issues. SAMHI strives to reduce the stigma of mental illness, improve access to resources, and advocate for the mental well-being of student athletes.
"Krista has defined the expression of giving back when it comes to her contribution to CIS athletics as a whole. So many people have seen the impact of her work. We speak frequently about leaving a legacy, and her leadership and courage with SAMHI will leave a legacy all over Canada," said head coach Andy Sparks. "It's been a great experience having her as part of the team and we are very proud to support her."
The other nominees were guards Rachelle Coward of Saint Mary's, Sarah-Jane Marois of Laval and Kelly O'Hallahan of MacEwan.
The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday.
Joining CIS MVP Keneca Pingue-Giles of Ryerson on the first squad were forward Jessica Lubin of UQAM (15.3 points per game), as well as guards Paloma Anderson of Acadia (18.7 ppg), Laura Dally of Saskatchewan (17.2 ppg) and Danielle Boiago of McMaster (17.4 ppg).
The second unit is comprised of guard Jessilyn Fairbanks of Alberta along with four forwards, including Kayli Sartori of Fraser Valley, Alex Kiss-Rusk of McGill, Alison Keough of Cape Breton and Charlotte Kot of Regina.
It marked the first career selection for all members of the two all-Canadian teams.
In addition to CIS top freshman Brooklyn Legault of Alberta, the national all-rookie squad is made up of forward Julia Curran of Western, as well as guards Kaylee Anagnostopoulos of Windsor, Gladys Hakizimana of McGill and Maria Mongomo of UNBC.
2015-2016 CIS WOMEN'S BASKETBALL AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS
Nan Copp Award (player of the year): Keneca Pingue-Giles, Ryerson
Defensive player of the year: Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse, Saint Mary's
Kathy Shields Award (rookie of the year): Brooklyn Legault, Alberta
Peter Ennis Award (TIMEX coach of the year): Ryan Thorne, McGill
Sylvia Sweeney Award (basketball, academics & community service): Ainsley MacIntyre, Dalhousie
Tracy MacLeod Award: Krista Van Slingerland, Ottawa
Pos. - Athlete - University - Year - Hometown - Academic Program
G - Keneca Pingue-Giles - Ryerson - 5 Winnipeg, Man. - Ms. Pub. Pol. & Admin.
G - Paloma Anderson - Acadia - 3 - Phoenix, Arizona - Arts
G - Laura Dally - Saskatchewan - 5 Bright's Grove, Ont. - Kinesiology
F - Jessica Lubin - UQAM - 3 - Montreal, Que. - English Certificat
G - Danielle Boiago - McMaster - 4 Hamilton, Ont. - Kinesiology
G - Jessilyn Fairbanks - Alberta - 5 - Edmonton, Alta. - Medicine & Dentistry
F - Kayli Sartori - Fraser Valley - 4 - Abbotsford, B.C. - General Studies
F - Alex Kiss-Rusk - McGill - 3 - Beaconsfield, Que. - Arts
F - Alison Keough - Cape Breton - 3 - Marion Bridge, N.S. - Science
F - Charlotte Kot - Regina - 4 - Regina, Sask. - Kin. & Health Studies
F - Brooklyn Legault - Alberta - 1 - North Vancouver, B.C. - Phys. Ed. & Recreation
F - Julia Curran - Western - 1 - Waterloo, Ont. - Brescia College
G - Kaylee Anagnostopoulos - Windsor - 1 - Waterloo, Ont .- Forensic Science
G - Gladys Hakizimana McGill - 1 - Montreal, Que. - Social Work
G - Maria Mongomo - UNBC - 1 - Las Palmas, Spain Eng. - Language Studies