2015-16 AUS Women’s Basketball Awards and All-Stars Announced

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(HALIFAX, N.S.) – Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2015-16 AUS women’s basketball all-stars and major award winners as selected by the conference’s eight head coaches following regular season play.

Third-year Acadia guard Paloma Anderson was named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player at Thursday’s awards dinner banquet held at the historic VIA Rail train station in Halifax, N.S.

Other AUS major award winners announced during the banquet were StFX’s Chelsea Provo of East Preston, N.S., who was named AUS rookie of the year; Saint Mary’s Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse of Montreal, Que., who was named AUS defensive player of the year; Saint Mary’s Rachelle Coward of Dartmouth, N.S., who is the AUS Tracy MacLeod Award Nominee; Dalhousie’s Ainsley MacIntyre of Sydney, N.S., who received the student-athlete community service award; and Saint Mary’s head coach Scott Munro, who was named the AUS coach of the year for the second time in his career.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Paloma Anderson, Acadia  

Paloma Anderson, a 5-foot-1 guard with the Acadia Axewomen, is the Atlantic University Sport women’s basketball most valuable player.

A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Anderson led the Axewomen on a 15-0 start to their season, finishing with a 16-4 record on the year. In her second season of AUS action, Anderson started all 20 games for Acadia, finishing second in the league in points per game (18.7) and assists per game (4.4). Her 137 successful field goals, and 85 free-throws were good for third in the league.

On January 20th versus StFX, Anderson set a new school record for points in a single game with a career-high 41. She now sits sixth in this category in the AUS all-time record book.

“We are very proud of Paloma’s achievement, and it is something that she has committed herself toward, and worked hard for this season,” said Axewomen head coach Len Harvey. “I think above all else, as an undersized guard, her being named the MVP among many deserving candidates is even more impressive. She has taken over games at times this season, and has been a fantastic ‘finisher’ in tight games. Everyone at Acadia is excited for her, and proud of her winning this well-deserved award.”

Anderson is the first-ever Acadia player to win the AUS women’s basketball most valuable player award.

She will now become the AUS nominee for the Nan Copp Award for CIS player of the year. Former Saint Mary’s Huskies standout Justine Colley is the only AUS women’s basketball player to ever take home CIS MVP honours. She earned back-to-back Nan Copp awards in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

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ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Chelsea Provo, StFX

Chelsea Provo of the StFX X-Women is the AUS women’s basketball rookie of the year.

Provo has made an instant impact with the X-Women, starting in 17 of her 20 games this season. In her rookie season, she averaged 6.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the X-Women. She also added 28 steals this season.

“I am truly proud of the way Chelsea played basketball this season,” said X-Women head coach Augy Jones. “Running the point guard position is not an easy job for any player, especially a rookie. Chelsea did a great job this year of staying calm under pressure as a first-year player. She has positively represented East Preston, Auburn High School and St. Francis Xavier University.”

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

Alison Keough of the Cape Breton Capers (in 2013-14), Vanessa Pickard of StFX (2011-12) and Claire Colborne of UNB (2010-11) are the most recent AUS players to win the CIS rookie of the year award.

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DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse, Saint Mary’s

Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse of the Saint Mary’s Huskies has been named the AUS women’s basketball defensive player of the year for the second consecutive season.

The 5-foot-7 guard started in all 20 games and was second in team scoring with an average of 11.0 points per game, finishing with 220 points on the season.

Luberisse was a defensive force for the Huskies this season, leading the AUS in steals with 67 and posting 86 defensive rebounds. She finished third overall in assists with 76 and fifth overall in offensive rebounds with 52.

In addition to being named the 2015-16 AUS defensive player of the year, Luberisse was also named to the AUS second team all-star squad.

She adds this to her growing list of accolades which include 2014-15 AUS rookie of the year honours, as well as places on the 2014-15 AUS first team all-star squad and AUS all-rookie team.

Luberisse, a native of Montreal, Que., is the only player from the Huskies to claim the defensive player of the year award, and the first AUS player to earn the honour in back-to-back seasons.

She will now be the AUS nominee for the CIS defensive player of the year award.An Atlantic University Sport player has yet to earn the accolade.

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DR. CAROLYN SAVOY AWARD (AUS COACH OF THE YEAR): Scott Munro, Saint Mary’s

 Head coach Scott Munro of the CIS No. 3-ranked Saint Mary’s Huskies is the 2015-16 recipient of the Dr. Carolyn Savoy Memorial Award for AUS coach of the year. This is the second time in his eight years at the helm of the program that he has received the honour.

The defending AUS champion Huskies finished first in this year’s regular season standings with a 19-1 record. Their league-leading defence allowed an average of just 54.0 points per game against this season.

Munro’s Huskies led the league in free-throws made per game (15.6), three-point shots made per game (6.4), and offensive rebounds per game (14.5).

The team also finished second in the league in points per game (70.4), defensive rebounds per game (27.5), and total rebounds per game with (27.4).

“We are very happy for Coach Munro as this award acknowledges his unparalleled but unassuming dedication to Saint Mary’s University and our student-athletes,” said Saint Mary’s director of athletics Kevin Downie.

Before joining the team at Saint Mary’s in 2008, Munro spent many of his formative years with Saint Mary’s, including working as a coach for both the men’s and women’s teams between 1995-2003.

The NCCP level three certified coach from Fredericton, N.B. has led the Nova Scotia Provincial Team nine times on both the men’s and women’s side as head coach. Munro coached team Nova Scotia in the 2005 Canada Summer Games, leading the province to its first medal in 29 years. He also served as head coach for the squad at the 2009 Canada Summer Games.

From 2003-2008, Munro spent his time as head coach for the University of King’s College Blue Devils, leading the team to a regular season conference championship, and was selected ACAA Coach of the Year for 2007-08.

He is one out of just two Huskies coaches to be named AUS coach of the year and the first from Saint Mary’s to earn the honour twice. Jill Healy is the only other Saint Mary’s coach to be named AUS coach of the year, claiming the award in 1997-98.

Munro now becomes the AUS nominee for CIS coach of the year, hoping to earn the honour for the second time in his career. He is the latest Atlantic conference coach to win the award, previously earning the honour in the 2012-2013 season.

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TRACY MACLEOD AWARD NOMINEE: Rachelle Coward, Saint Mary’s

Rachelle Coward of the Saint Mary’s Huskies is the 2015-16 AUS nominee for the CIS Tracy MacLeod Award.

This award rewards a women’s basketball player who demonstrates determination, perseverance and unwavering spirit to continue playing the game of basketball.

After fracturing her ankle at the beginning of last season, it was recommended that she consider ending her competitive basketball career. An ankle specialist and surgeon consulting on her case commented that the injury was one of the worst fractures he had seen and estimated a minimum of 12 to 16 months of rehab.

Following an extensive nine months of rehab, Coward began training again this past summer and took to the floor again with the Huskies at the beginning of this regular season.

She played in all 20 games for the Huskies, averaging 16.6 points per game and adding 17 blocks this season, earning herself a place on the AUS first team all-star squad.

“As a result of many hours of rehab and pushing herself through this summer and every day in practice this season, Rachelle has returned to all-star form,” said Huskies head coach Scott Munro. “This is a true testament to her work ethic and commitment to try and overcome to help her team. I feel Rachelle is an excellent candidate for the Tracy MacLeod award with all she has done over the last 16 months.”

Coward now becomes 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).

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STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Ainsley MacIntyre, Dalhousie

Fourth-year Dalhousie Tigers forward Ainsley MacIntyre is the 2015-16 recipient of the AUS student-athlete community service award and the AUS nominee for the CIS Sylvia Sweeney award.

The neuroscience student from Sydney, N.S. managed a 4.0 GPA this season and has a cumulative GPA of 3.97. She is a three-time academic all-Canadian, on pace to repeat this year.

On the basketball court, MacIntyre averaged 10.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for the Tigers this season.

She is also heavily involved in the community. MacIntyre is president of the student-athlete mental health initiative. She volunteers for the Ronald McDonald House, Dalhousie’s Special Tigers program and as an assistant coach with the Halifax Grammar School Senior Girls Team.

“Ainsley has developed into a strong and positive leader this year, on the court, in the classroom, in the locker room, as well as in the community as a volunteer,” said Tigers 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. In my opinion, she is an outstanding role model for all of us and is very deserving of this award.”

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

FIRST AND SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

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:

Paloma Anderson, Acadia (3rd year – Phoenix, Arizona)

Alison Keough, Cape Breton (3rd year – Marion Bridge, N.S.)

Tessa Stammberger, Dalhousie (5th year – Halifax, N.S.)

Rachelle Coward, Saint Mary’s (5th year – Dartmouth, N.S.)

Lindsay Lessard, StFX (4th year – Waterloo, Ont.)

Second Team All-Stars:

Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse (2nd year – Montreal, Que.)

Grace Wade, UNB (3rd year – Moncton, N.B.)

Katelynn Donahoe, UPEI (5th year – Riverview, N.B.)

Alexandra Berry, Acadia (3rd year – Yarmouth, N.S.)

Colleen Keane (4th year – Ajax, Ont.)

All-Rookie Team:

Chelsea Provo, StFX (East Preston, N.S.)

Kelsey Rice, Acadia (Beaverbank, N.S.)

Megan Thompson, Dalhousie (Brantford, Ont.)

Sophie Gaube, Dalhousie (Halifax, N.S.)

Andreanne Ennis, Memorial (Ottawa, Ont.)

The 2016 Subway Atlantic University Sport Women’s Basketball Championship will be hosted by the AUS conference office at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, N.S., March 4-6, 2016.  

The championship schedule is as follows: (seeding in brackets)

Friday, March 4

Quarterfinal #1: UPEI (5) vs. UNB (4), 1 p.m.

Quarterfinal #2: Dalhousie (6) vs. Cape Breton (3), 3 p.m.

Saturday, March 5

Semifinal #1: Winner QF#1 vs. Saint Mary’s (1), 1 p.m.

Semifinal #2: Winner QF#2 vs. Acadia (2), 3 p.m.

Sunday, March 6

Final: SF1 Winner vs. SF2 Winner, 1 p.m.

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