Extraordinary Atlantic 10 Student-Athletes Nominated for 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year Award

By Atlantic 10 Conference

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Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Atlantic 10 Conference institutions nominated 14 impressive student-athletes for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year Award. These exceptional student-athletes, which were announced Monday by the A-10, represent seven sports and 11 different A-10 institutions.

One of the most prestigious NCAA awards, the NCAA established the Woman of the Year Award in 1991 to celebrate the achievements of women in intercollegiate athletics. Now in its 28th year, the NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.

The 2018 Atlantic 10 institutional nominees are recognized for being standout citizens with robust academic success, complemented by competitive athletic resumes, while sustaining dynamic leadership in their communities. The 14 candidates have noteworthy credentials, including All-American and Academic All-District honors, conference championships and All-Conference award winners, NCAA Championship success, and campus involvement, including serving as student-athlete leaders. A brief biography of each candidate, listed alphabetically by institution, is below.

The league’s Senior Woman Administrators will vote on 13 of the nominees to select two who will represent the Atlantic 10 Conference as 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year finalists. One nominee, gymnast Cami Drouin-Allaire of George Washington, competes in a sport which is not sponsored by the Atlantic 10, and will be considered from among a national pool of candidates.

After the Atlantic 10 and all other leagues have selected up to two conference nominees, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will then choose the top 30 honorees — 10 from each division. From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three honorees from each division and announces the nine finalists. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then chooses the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year from those nine. The top 30 honorees will be recognized and the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced at the annual award ceremony Oct. 28 in Indianapolis.


2018 NCAA WOMAN OF THE YEAR INSTITUTIONAL HONOREES


Jenna Burdette I University Of Dayton
Women’s Basketball I Hometown: Coolville, Ohio I Major: Exercise Science
Burdette became the 25th Flyer in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark in her senior season while finishing a stellar career at Dayton. The Coolville, Ohio native rewrote the record book with 14 Top 20 all-time marks across numerous categories and finished with 1,344 points in 120 games played. Burdette was named First Team All-Conference, Second Team Academic All-District, team MVP, preseason all-conference, and received the RUDY Award, given to the standout female athlete at the University of Dayton. She led the team this past season with 16.2 points and 3.9 assists per game. Burdette shot 44.5 percent from three-point range, ranking second in the conference and eighth in the nation in that category. She has previously been named Second Team All-Conference, A-10 Tournament Most Outstanding Performer, A-10 All-Tournament Team, and earned numerous A-10 Player of the Week accolades.


Grace McDonald | University of Dayton
Cross Country/Track & Field | Hometown: Olney, Md. | Major: Accounting
A two-time team captain in cross country and track & field, McDonald led the 2017 team to an Atlantic 10 Conference Cross Country Championship. In track, she was All-Atlantic 10 Conference at both the indoor and outdoor championships. She was third in the steeplechase in 2016, and third in the indoor mile in 2017. McDonald is a two-time nominee for the Office of Academic Services for Student-Athletes’ Presidential Scholar-Athlete Award. She has also earned the “High Flyer” Award for leadership for the track and cross country programs. McDonald served her community in several roles. She was the Executive Coordinator on UD’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as a junior and a senior for the student-run RUDY Awards ceremony. McDonald also volunteers with UD’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and is a campus Sexual Violence Prevention representative. In her hometown, she has organized two blood drives that exceeded the that goals the local Red Cross set for them.


Kylie Isaacs | Duquesne University
Women’s Tennis | Hometown: Wexford, Pa. | Major: Information Systems Management
Duquesne’s all-time leader in wins (188), singles wins (94) and doubles wins (94), Isaacs also holds single-season school records for total wins (56), singles wins (30) and doubles wins (26). Isaacs was the first player in program history to be named First-Team All-Conference all four years and second player to be named to the All-Academic team three times. A four-year starter at #1 singles and #1 doubles, Isaacs led Duquesne to 57 wins, tying the most victories for any senior class. In May 2018, she was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship for the Atlantic Region. She was the Palumbo Donahue School of Business valedictorian, graduating with a 3.97 grade point average. Isaacs was a member of the Phi Eta Sigma and Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Fraternities, the National Society of Leadership and Success as well as an ITA Scholar.


Catherine Napoli | Fordham University
Rowing |  Hometown:  Norristown, Pa. |  Major: Communication and Cultural Studies with a minor in Psychology

A four-year varsity rower (two years with the Varsity 8+) and the bow seat of the Varsity 8+ crew in 2018-19. A three-time CRCA National Scholar-Athlete. Named to the 2017 and 2018 Atlantic 10 All-Academic teams. A member of the 2017-18 Fordham varsity 8, a boat which closed out the season with a third place showing at the Dad Vail Championship. A member of the varsity 8 that finished third at the 2018 Murphy Cup and fourth at the 2018 Atlantic 10 Championships. Fordham Varsity 8 earned Atlantic 10 Boat of the Week honors once in 2018. Placed in the Top 10 6k Ergometer Times in Fordham Lightweight Women Rowing History (2017). Placed in Top 10 2k Ergometer Times in Fordham Lightweight Women Rowing History 2017) Recipient of the 2018 John Kieran Award, presented to a Fordham College at Rose Hill student-athlete who has made significant contributions in the classroom as well as in their sport. 


Natalie Butler | George Mason University
Basketball | Hometown: Fairfax Station, Va. | Major: Global Affairs (Graduate student)
The Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention, Butler enjoyed a record-breaking season in her lone year with the Patriots. The graduate student who transferred after two years with national power Connecticut, broke the NCAA Division I single-season record for rebounds (563) and tied the Division I records for double-doubles (33) and consecutive double-doubles in a season (33).  She led the nation in rebounding (16.6 rpg) and led the Atlantic 10 in scoring (19.2 ppg). She also set Mason’s program record for points in a season (653). She was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team, the All-Defensive Team and the All-Academic Team. She helped the Patriots set a school record for wins (24), posting their highest finish ever in the Atlantic 10 (11-5, fourth), reaching the postseason for the first time in 14 years and win a postseason game for the first time in program history as the Patriots advanced to the second round of the WNIT. She became the first player in program history to be drafted, taken 30th overall by the Dallas Wings in the 2018 WNBA Draft. After competing with the Wings in training camp, she signed a professional deal to play overseas with Belgium squad Belfius Namur Capitale.


Sharon Dorsey | George Mason University
Track & Field | Hometown: Baltimore, Md. | Environmental Science
A six-time Atlantic 10 champion, Dorsey compiled an impressive career on and off the track for George Mason. She won six A-10 gold medals (indoor and outdoor) as a member of the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays. That included helping the Patriots set the A-10 Championship record in the 4x400 with a winning time of 3:38.58 at the 2018 A-10 Outdoor Championships. She was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District Women’s Track/Cross Country Team by CoSIDA this past spring. She received a postgraduate scholarship from the Atlantic 10 and was named to the All-Academic Team for track (indoor and outdoor) five times. In addition, she was named to the A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll seven times. She also received the Mason athletic department’s prestigious Susan A. Collins Leadership Award for Women in Sport. She was an A-10 representative for the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, where she also served as vice president. She is also on the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and was the treasurer for her Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. She received the Outstanding Performance Departmental Award from the College of Science, the 2017 MVP Award from the Black Excellence Gala. In the community, she volunteered in the Occoquan River Clean Up, the Victim’s Rights Run/Walk 5K and the Langston Hughes Middle School Career Day.


Cami Drouin-Allaire | George Washington University
Gymnastics | Hometown: Shoreham, NY | Major: Biology 
Drouin-Allaire capped her career as the most decorated Colonial gymnast in program history. In addition to making her GW program-record third-career appearance at the National Championship this season, Drouin-Allaire was named the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Gymnast and Senior of the Year and recognized as an American Athletic, Inc. (AAI) Award finalist, an award that is given to the most outstanding senior female gymnast in the country. The co-captain was also named EAGL Gymnast of the Week a program-record four times this season after competing in all four events with career-highs of 9.900+ on each one. In addition, after boasting a regular-season 9.910 RQS on vault, she was recognized as a 2018 Regular Season All-American, marking the second time she has earned All-American honors in her career. In the classroom, Drouin-Allaire graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and was a four-time honoree on the GW Department of Athletics Dean’s List and the EAGL All-Scholastic team.  She was also very active in community service initiatives throughout her career, spending time volunteering with the Capital Area Food Bank, Race to Beat Cancer, and Celebrate Every Breath Gala. Drouin-Allaire also spent significant time as a note taker for students with disabilities and served in GW’s Leadership Academy.


Brianna Cummings | George Washington University
Women’s Basketball | Hometown: Lawrenceville, GA | Major: Biology
Cummings was named to both the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Third Team and the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team after leading the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) on .437 shooting from the field with averages of 5.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.0 steals per game during her senior season. Also named the Most Outstanding Player of the Atlantic 10 Championship after averaging 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and shooting 46 percent from the field over four games, Cummings paced the team with 27 double-figure scoring games, including five games of 20 points of more. In the classroom, Cummings graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and was a four-time honoree on the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Also a Leader in GW’s Student-Athlete Leadership Academy, Cummings was a 2017 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar and was active in the community, completing 76 hours throughout her career. 


Heather MacLean | University of Massachusetts
Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field | Hometown: Peabody, Mass. | Major: Education (Masters)
A three-time All-American (mile 2016, cross country 2017, outdoor 800m 2018), MacLean was a four-time NCAA Outdoor East Preliminary qualifier in her career, which spanned five seasons with the Minutewomen. She was an eight-time New England champion (six individual tiles, two relays) and 10-time Atlantic 10 champion (800m, 1,500m, two relays) on the track to go along with two Atlantic 10 Cross Country individual titles (2016, 2017). She won the 2017 New England Cross Country championships, as well. MacLean was a two-time Atlantic 10 Most Outstanding Cross Country Performer (2016, 2017), the 2016 Atlantic 10 Indoor Most Outstanding Track Performer and the 2018 Atlantic 10 Outdoor Most Outstanding Track Performer. She was a three-time All-Atlantic 10 performer in cross country and holds seven individual school records and a share of four relay records, three New England records and two A-10 records. For her work in the classroom, MacLean was a six-time A-10 Academic All-Conference honoree (cross country 2015, 2016, 2017/indoor track and field 2016/outdoor track and field 2017, 2018) and was among 10 graduating seniors honored for exemplary achievement, initiative and leadership as 21st Century Leaders during UMass’ Undergraduate Commencement in 2017.


Kim Egizi | University of Richmond
Women’s Lacrosse | Hometown: Westwood, Mass. | Major: Psychology
One of the most prolific attackers in Richmond women’s lacrosse history, Kim Egizi wrapped up her career by taking Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year honors and leading the team to its first A-10 Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007. A two-time First Team All-Conference honoree and the 2018 A-10 Tournament MVP, Egizi finished her four years as a Spider ranked second in assists (100), points (267) and draw controls (247), and fifth in goals (167). The Westwood, Mass. native was named to the IWLCA Division I All-South Region Second Team as a senior after a season that saw her break the single-season point record at Richmond with 97. Egizi was also active off of the field, earning A-10 All-Academic team honors in 2018 as a member of the Dean’s List and A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. A two-time team captain, she played a major role in the team’s involvement with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and was a three-time member of the squad’s Leadership Council.


Meg Ellis | University of Rhode Island

Rowing | Hometown: Bedford, N.H. | Major: Public Relations

A four-year starter for the Rhode Island women's rowing team, Ellis led the Rams to their second Atlantic 10 title and second NCAA Championship appearance of her career in 2018. A two-time A-10 All-Conference selection, she earned first-team honors this spring after being named to the second team in 2017. Also a two-time Academic All-Conference selection, Ellis earned her degree in Public Relations while minoring in Leadership Studies. With a 3.86 cumulative grade-point average, she has earned Dean's List recognition all eight semesters of her college career. Ellis served as the president of Rhode Island's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for two years, and in the summer of her junior year, she participated in Coach for College, educating disadvantaged Vietnamese youth in rural South Vietnam for three weeks. She is a three-time CRCA Scholar Athlete Award winner and also has served as a URI 101 mentor and URI Student-Athlete Mentor. Chosen as URI's honoree for the 2018 Rhode Island Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Distinguished Athlete of the Year, Ellis also was one of nine athletes from the A-10 chosen to attend the NCAA's Career in Sports Forum in Indianapolis earlier this summer. In February while interning with URI's Sports Communications office – she served as the on-site media coordinator for the 2018 Atlantic 10 Indoor Track and Field Championships.


Mariah Ruff | St. Bonaventure University

Women’s Basketball | Hometown: Oneonta, N.Y. | Major: Chemistry
Ruff finished her career as one of St. Bonaventure’s all-time career leaders in numerous statistical categories including: assists (fourth, 427), 3-pointers (fifth, 202) and points (eighth, 1,446) and is one of only four players in program history to both score 1,000 points and hand out 400 assists. The first Bonnies player to post over 100 assists in three consecutive seasons since the mid-90s, she led the Atlantic 10 in scoring during conference play as a senior with 19.6 points per game against A-10 competition and ranked second in the league in assists with five per game. An All-Conference and All-Academic Team selection, she led the A-10 in 30-point performances as a senior as well with four such games. Away from the court, she was active in community service projects including many activities with local youth at the YMCA, reading with elementary students and was active in support of Special Olympics.


Jackie Kemph | Saint Louis University

Women's Basketball | Hometown: Arlington Heights, Ill. | Major: Accounting

Kemph concluded her career as the most-decorated student-athlete in SLU women’s basketball history. She was a three-time selection to the All-Conference first team and the A-10 All-Academic team, and twice she was named A-10 Player of the Year, A-10 Championship All-Tournament and CoSIDA Academic All-District. Kemph earned Associated Press All-America honorable mention in her sophomore season, and she was named to the Naismith Trophy and Nancy Lieberman Award watch lists her final two seasons. She was a Senior CLASS Award top-10 finalist and one of 10 women’s basketball student-athletes selected to the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete Team. Kemph set SLU career records of 1,894 points, 899 assists, 490 free throws made, 132 starts and 132 games played. She is one of only seven players in Division I women’s basketball history to own her school’s career marks for both points and assists, and her 899 assists rank 12th in Division I annals. A summa cum laude graduate who earned a master’s degree in accounting, Kemph made the A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll every semester. In the community, she was involved with Girls on the Run, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Special Needs Soccer Association and SLU’s Make A Difference Day.


Taylor McCormick | VCU

Women's Track & Field | Hometown: Glen Allen, Va. | Major: Criminal Justice 
She won two A-10 triple jump titles indoors after taking first place in 2017 and 2018 as well as one A-10 outdoors title in 2017. She was a member of five total team A-10 Championships at VCU including indoor titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018 and outdoor titles in 2016 and 2018. She set school records in both indoors and outdoors in the triple jump for the Rams. She was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Academic Team in 2017 and 2018. She maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her undergraduate career as she was named to the Dean's List and the Athletic Director's Honor Roll. She was named a recipient of the prestigious Atlantic 10 Conference postgraduate scholarship for 2018. McCormick has been active on campus in the "It's On Us" and "Make a Change" campaigns, as well as with the Make a Wish Foundation. 


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