Saint Mary’s Colley repeats as CIS women's basketball player of the year

Photo credit Edwin Tam

WINDSOR, Ont. (CIS) – Justine Colley, a fifth-year guard from Saint Mary’s University, was named the CIS player of the year in women’s basketball for the second straight season, Thursday night.

The native of East Preston, N.S., became the sixth multiple winner of the Nan Copp Award and the first since Saskatchewan’s Sarah Crooks, who was honoured in 2006 and 2007. Colley remains the only player from the Atlantic University Sport conference to merit CIS-MVP honours.

Miah-Marie Langlois from the reigning three-time national champion Windsor Lancers was also announced as a repeat winner at the All-Canadian Banquet held at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts. The fifth-year guard from Windsor was voted the best defensive player in the country for a remarkable third consecutive campaign.

Other major award recipients for the 2013-14 season include Cape Breton forward Alison Keough, who captured the Kathy Shields Award as the nation’s top freshman; Windsor head coach Chantal Vallée, who received the Peter Ennis Award; McMaster post Hailey Milligan, who earned the Sylvia Sweeney Award which recognizes excellence in basketball, academics and community service; as well as Queen’s forward Gemma Bullard, who merited the Tracy MacLeod Award for her determination and perseverance.

The ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS Final 8 gets under way on Friday at the University of Windsor’s St. Denis Centre and culminates Sunday at 8 p.m. with the gold-medal final, live on Sportsnet 360.

Sportsnet 360 also has live coverage of Saturday’s semifinals at 3 and 5 p.m. All 11 games from the tournament - including televised contests - will be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv

NAN COPP AWARD (player of the year): Justine Colley, Saint Mary’s

In addition to Colley and Crooks, the list of multiple Nan Copp Award winners includes Simon Fraser’s Jessica Kaczowka (2002 & 2003), Calgary’s Leighann Doan (2000 & 2001), Calgary’s Veronica VanderSchee (1988 & 1990), as well as Winnipeg’s Sandra Carroll, the only three-time recipient (1993, 1994, 1995).

In her fifth and final season in a Saint Mary’s uniform, Colley was once again sensational. After winning the CIS scoring title in each of the last three campaigns, the 5-foot-9 senior “settled” for the AUS scoring crown and third place in the country this year thanks to her 20.8 points a game. The addition of NCAA transfer Rachelle Coward (18.8) allowed head coach Scott Munro to diversify his offence and the dynamic duo helped make the Huskies the top offensive unit in the Atlantic conference and the second best in the nation with an average of 81.6 points per contest.

Much more than just a scorer, the commerce student finished first in the country in assists (5.7 per game), tied for first in steals (3.8), was tops in the AUS and third in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8), led all CIS guards in field goal percentage (49.8), and was also second on her team in rebounds (7.3). Thanks in large part to her stellar play, Saint Mary’s posted an unblemished record in league play (20-0) and reached No. 1 in the national rankings, both firsts in program history.

Over the course of the season, the Canadian senior national team member became the all-time scoring leader in CIS women’s basketball history with 2,376 points. She finishes her brilliant university career with five selections as a first-team AUS all-star, four as an all-Canadian – including three first-team nods – and one on the CIS all-rookie squad.

“This is a well-deserved accomplishment for one of the top players that has ever played in the AUS conference,” said 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 five years, it is hard to put into words. Winning the national MVP award for a second straight time is a tremendous accomplishment considering the depth of talent in CIS. Justine has had a team-first attitude since day one and she has been greatly responsible for much of our team success.”

The other finalists for the Nan Copp Award were McGill forward Mariam Sylla, Western guard Jenny Vaughan and Saskatchewan post Dalyce Emmerson.

DEFENSIVE MVP: Miah-Marie Langlois, Windsor

Langlois became the first player to be named CIS defensive MVP on three occasions since the creation of the award in 2000-01.

The standout point guard had another outstanding campaign for the Lancers as she helped lead the Blue and Gold to their sixth straight regular season division title with a sparkling 21-1 record, and No. 1 status in seven of 13 weekly national coaches’ polls.
 
The 5-foot-8 business student tied for first in the country in the regular season with 3.8 steals per game, was first in total steals with 83 and also averaged 5.8 rebounds per contest, all while being responsible for defending the opponents’ top guard. She showed her versatility by also chipping in on offence with 15.3 points per outing, good for second on the team, and 4.9 assists, the sixth best average in the nation.

For her efforts, Langlois, who represented Canada last summer at the FISU Universiade in Russia, was voted to the second all-Canadian team for the second time in her career.

“I am extremely proud of Miah’s commitment throughout her career to becoming a top defensive player in CIS. I’ve seen Miah work extremely hard on her individual skills outside of practice time both at the offensive and defensive ends,” said head coach Chantal Vallée. “The University of Windsor and our Lancer basketball program are very proud of Miah’s well-deserved recognition.”

The other nominees for defensive-MVP honours were St. Francis Xavier forward Rebecca Sheehan, UQAM forward Queteline Celestin and Saskatchewan post Dalyce Emmerson.

KATHY SHIELDS AWARD (rookie of the year): Alison Keough, Cape Breton

A two-sport athlete at Riverview High School, Keough quickly made an immediate impact in the lineup after joining her hometown Capers this past fall. She becomes the first CBU player in history to claim the Kathy Shields Award.

The 6-foot-1 forward from Marion Bridge, N.S., was on the starting roster on opening day and averaged 33.2 minutes per game throughout the season, second best on the Capers, behind only fifth-year guard Tanira McClurkin.

A prolific scorer in high school, Keough made the difficult transition to the AUS look easy, finishing sixth in conference scoring with a team-leading 16 points per contest on 47 per cent shooting. The science student also ranked among the AUS leaders with 9.8 rebounds per game (2nd) and 1.1 blocks per outing (3rd).

“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. 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.”

McGill forward Jennifer Silver, Carleton forward Heather Lindsay and Thompson Rivers guard Sydney Williams were also in the running for the Kathy Shields Award.

PETER ENNIS AWARD (coach of the year): Chantal Vallée, Windsor

A four-time OUA West coach of the year, Vallée received the Peter Ennis Award for the first time in her career, becoming the only women’s basketball coach in program history to claim the national honour. 

In her ninth year at the helm, Vallée guided the Lancers to their sixth consecutive OUA West division title thanks to a 21-1 conference record, marking their sixth straight 20+ win campaign. Her troops once again dominated at both ends of the floor in league play, finishing first in the country in points scored (83.0 per game) and third in fewest points allowed (50.2).

The Lancers, who are seeking a remarkable fourth straight Bronze Baby Trophy this week, were also tops in CIS in team assists (18.5 per game), steals (14.0) and blocks (5.1), second in field goal (44.6) and free throw (77.0) percentage, third in rebounding (44.7 per game) and fourth in three-point shooting (33.0%).

“The University of Windsor congratulates Coach Vallée on her selection as coach of the year,” said Windsor athletic director Mike Havey. “Chantal’s record of accomplishment and incredible team achievement are certainly worthy of this recognition. Her program has been a source of great pride and inspiration for our University.”

The other finalists for the Peter Ennis Award were Cape Breton’s Fabian McKenzie, McGill’s Ryan Thorne and Alberta’s Scott Edwards.

SYLVIA SWEENEY AWARD: Hailey Milligan, McMaster
 
Milligan, who hails from Brantford, Ont., became the first McMaster player to earn the Sylvia Sweeney Award.

On the court, the 6-foot-3 post had a brilliant season. She led the country in rebounding with 11.7 boards per game and her 18.4 points per contest was good for second in the OUA conference and seventh in CIS. She also became McMaster’s all-time career rebound leader over the course of the campaign and was named an OUA West first-team all-star for the second straight year.

In the classroom, the Honours English student boasts a sparkling grade point average while balancing her time between athletics, academics and community involvement. The fifth-year student-athlete has given back to the community by being the driving force behind the On The Move girls basketball program that developed from a single event to permanent program at several of the Boys and Girls Clubs in the Hamilton area. She is also a key contributor to the development of the MACMENTORING program, which was developed through the Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton to foster relationships between McMaster female athletes and young girls in the community.

“Hailey has been a tremendous leader on our team and probably the best post player I’ve ever coached,” said McMaster head coach Theresa Burns. “More than her talents on the court, Hailey has shown unbelievable drive and determination in her work with McMaster Athletes Care and all the programs she has been part of. Her competitive fire and positive attitude have been a joy to watch. She is just a fantastic role model for anyone that values athletics, academics, and community service.”

Dalhousie’s Robbi Daley, McGill’s Marie-Pier Bastrash and UBC’s Jaime Hills were also nominated for the Sylvia Sweeney Award.

TRACY MacLEOD AWARD: Gemma Bullard, Queen’s

Bullard is the first Queen’s player to receive the Tracy MacLeod Award.

The Guelph, Ont., native came to Queen’s as an OBA Division I Champion, having played on a reconstructed (ACL) knee. In her first university season in 2010-11, she suffered a severe concussion that sidelined her for six games. She overcame both the athletic and academic challenges that a severe concussion posed to complete her first year in engineering while shooting 35.9% from the three-point line and 34.5% overall, and averaging 9.0 points per game.

At training camp in her second year, she tore her ACL again and underwent ACL augmentation surgery. She missed the entire 2011-12 season. She returned for the 2012-13 campaign, after a year of rehab, but continued to have some pain in the knee. It was determined that the meniscus was torn and further surgery was warranted, causing her to miss the final 10 games and playoffs.
 
This season, after recovering from surgery, Bullard has been on the court more than off it thanks to the help of a brace. She did however suffer a strained rotator cuff injury during pre-season and then contracted mononucleosis in the late fall forcing her to the sidelines for an additional six weeks.
 
While still in need of rehab for her injured shoulder, Bullard managed to only miss three games, finishing with 11.4 points per game, shooting 38.6% from the floor and 32.6% from the three-point line. She set a new career high with 25 points in a win over Brock on November 23rd, proving that injuries won’t keep her from playing the game she loves with a high level of intensity.
 
“Gemma’s competitive spirit is what has driven her through (and caused some of) her injuries. Her will to succeed is what has made her a great player in spite of the concussion, two knee surgeries, food poisoning, shoulder tear, and a number of other injuries,” said Queen’s head coach Dave Wilson. “She has spent countless hours in the weight room, on the track and in the gym, working to overcome all the obstacles, and stands as an example of what can be accomplished in the face of adversity.”

UPEI’s Jenna Jones and Alberta’s Jaime Norum were also in the running for the Tracy MacLeod Award.

ALL-CANADIAN TEAMS

The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Thursday.

Joining Colley on the first squad were Saskatchewan post Dalyce Emmerson, Western guard Jenny Vaughan and McGill forward Mariam Sylla, all named MVP in their respective conference, as well as Regina guard Nicole Clarke.

Vaughan improves from a second-team nod a year ago, while Sylla was the CIS rookie of the year last season.

In addition to Langlois, the second all-Canadian unit for 2013-14 is comprised of guards Rachelle Coward of Saint Mary’s, Elizabeth Roach of Carleton, Kaylah Barrett of Concordia and Kris Young of UBC.

Barrett became a three-time CIS all-star, following first-team nods in each of the past two campaigns. Young was also a member of the top squad a year ago.

Joining Keough on the all-rookie team were Carleton forward Heather Lindsay, McGill forward Jennifer Silver, Western guard Mackenzie Puklicz and Windsor forward Cheyanne Roger.

2013-2014 CIS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS

Nan Copp Award (player of the year): Justine Colley, Saint Mary’s
Defensive player of the year: Miah-Marie Langlois, Windsor
Kathy Shields Award (rookie of the year): Alison Keough, Cape Breton
Peter Ennis Award (coach of the year): Chantal Vallée, Windsor
Sylvia Sweeney Award (basketball, academics & community service): Hailey Milligan, McMaster
Tracy MacLeod Award: Gemma Bullard, Queen’s

First Team

Pos. - Athlete  - University - Year - Hometown - Faculty
  
G Justine Colley  Saint Mary’s 5 East Preston, N.S. Commerce
P Dalyce Emmerson Saskatchewan 3 Prince Albert, Sask. Business
G Jenny Vaughan        Western   5 Dundas, Ont.  Education
F Mariam Sylla  McGill  2 Conakry, Guinea Pharmacology
G Nicole Clarke  Regina  5 Regina, Sask.  Science 

Second Team
 
G Rachelle Coward Saint Mary’s 4 Dartmouth, N.S. Criminology
G Miah-Marie Langlois Windsor 5 Windsor, Ont.  Business
G Elizabeth Roach Carleton 5 Ottawa, Ont.  Political Science
G Kaylah Barrett  Concordia    4 Brampton, Ont.     Urban Studies 
G Kris Young   UBC  4  North Vancouver, B.C. Arts
 
All-Rookie Team

F Alison Keough  Cape Breton 1 Marion Bridge, N.S. Science
F Heather Lindsay Carleton 1 Ottawa, Ont.  Environmental Studies
F Jennifer Silver  McGill  1 Montreal, Que.  Medical Preparatory
G Mackenzie Puklicz Western 1 London, Ont.  King’s College
F Cheyanne Roger Windsor 1 Etobicoke, Ont.  Human Kinetics
 
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