Women's Basketball Comes Together to Celebrate the Culmination of the 2011-12 Season
April 30, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine women's basketball team celebrated the end of the 2011-12 season recently with the annual team banquet, which brought together the student-athletes, coaches, support staff, family and friends.
The banquet, held on the Pepperdine campus, started off with a buffet dinner for all. Then each assistant coach addressed the room, culminating with a recap of the season by head coach Julie Rousseau.
On the year, Rousseau said, "Wow, what an interesting year this was. I have never experienced more high highs and more low lows in one year then this year gave us."
She went on to describe each game of the 2011-12 season, with highlights including winning the New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament, defeating Portland with a buzzer-beating shot and taking out then-No. 22 BYU. Rousseau addressed each class individually, challenging those returning and celebrating four years of success for the seniors. She also thanked her assistant coaches and support staff and highlighted the life of the beloved late athletic chaplain Maurice Hilliard.
Rousseau closed her heartfelt speech with, "I dare say, that if this year taught us how to truly live each day with fervent spirit to make each other better, or that this year taught us how to love each other better through the example of Christ, and if this year taught us how to never take the gift of life and the blessings we have been given for granted, then the 2011-12 season was truly a success!"
Following Rousseau, speeches from representatives from each class and every senior were heard.
The annual awards were given out next, beginning with the Most Inspirational Award, which was shared by sophomore Robie Mayberry (San Leandro, Calif./Bishop O'Dowd HS) and redshirt junior Audrey Miller (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic HS). This award recognizes student-athletes who have overcome great obstacles and through these challenges, still inspire others around them, including their teammates, coaches and fans. The amount of time on the court is insignificant to how she has continued to give of herself while facing adversity.
The Wave Award was bestowed upon redshirt sophomore Dori Lansbach (Traverse City, Michigan/North Florida). This award is for the student-athlete who exhibits a great and consistent attitude and enthusiasm towards her team and her commitment to her faith. She works hard every day and is an amazing ambassador for the program on campus.
The Student-Athlete of the Year was junior Kelsey Patrick (Mukilteo, Wash./Kamiak HS). Patrick, a first team All-Academic West Coast Conference selection, earned a 4.0 in the fall semester. She works tirelessly to meet the demands of excellence both in the classroom and on the court.
The Honor's Award recipient was Shay Cooney-Williams (Frisco, Texas/Frisco HS).
On Cooney-Williams, Rousseau said, "This young lady brings an attitude for success every day. She doesn't say much, but she has developed into a lethal player. She epitomizes this award because she is held in high-esteem both by her peers, teammates and coaches. She continues to improve in every arena of her life and will be an amazing leader through her example."
Senior Skye Barnett (Albuquerque, N.M./Cibola HS) was bestowed the Miriam Ayim Award, given to a student-athlete that shows consistency in her attitude and effort every day and tirelessly gives to her teammates on and off the court.
On Barnett, Rousseau explained, "She is selfless and a true women of God as she displays her faith in all that she does. She manages her time well and is an ambassador for our program through her work ethic and desire to achieve greatness."
Finally the Most Valuable Player award was shared between seniors Jazmine Jackson (Oakland, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep) and Lauren Bell (San Bruno, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep). Jackson earned All-WCC first team honors and Bell was honorable mention. Jackson was also named the WCC Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season.
According to Rousseau, Jackson and Bell were "The keys to the team. They played a huge role in helping us achieve success. With one having to lead the way early on, they made huge contributions for us."
Other highlights of the night included a heartfelt poem about Hilliard by Cooney-Williams, a talent poet and a preview of next year from soon-to-be senior Patrick.
The evening culminated in a highlight video and tribute to Hilliard.