For the second consecutive year, Ottawa’s Hannah Sunley-Paisley (Toronto) is the Ontario University Athletics East Player of the Year. The fourth-year centre ranked fifth this season in scoring, averaging 15.91 points per game. She added 253 rebounds, 34 assists, 35 steals and 42 blocks to her total. Sunley-Paisley also headlines the East first-team all-stars.
Jill Stratton (Etobicoke) of the Toronto Varsity Blues is the East Rookie of the Year. The first-year guard played in all 22 games for the Blues, recording 192 points and 57 assists. Defensively, Stratton chipped in 59 rebounds, 55 steals and 10 blocks. She is a member of the all rookie team.
Laurentian Lady Vees guard Katie Goggins (Hamner) is both the Defensive Player of the Year and the recipient of the East Joy Bellinger Award, presented annually to a female student-athlete in recognition of outstanding service to the sport and to the advancement of university athletics. Goggins scored 273 points over 20 games this season and recorded 101 defensive rebounds, 69 steals, and five blocks on the Lady Vees back court.
The fifth-year human kinetics major has been a standout in the classroom as well as on the court. She is a four-time Academic All-Canadian with her sights set on the Northern Ontario School of Medicine after graduation. Goggins tutors fellow students in biomechanics, and was a member of Laurentian’s Student Athletic Council for three years. She is a physiotherapy assistant for elderly patients at the St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre and volunteer with the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth. Goggins is a second team all-star.
Ottawa’s Sarah Nolette (Edmonton) is the East recipient of the Tracy McLeod Award, presented in recognition of determination, perseverance and unwavering spirit. The rookie scored 138 points over the Gee-Gees 22 game regular season, a task that seemed impossible two short years ago. In December 2008 after collapsing at home, Nolette was diagnosed with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a neurological disorder characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Known for its sudden onset, the star high school basketball player had the use of her legs taken from her literally overnight.
She was told it would take a minimum of four months before she could walk again. After numerous MRIs, tests and specialist appointments, she defied odds and struggled to relearn to walk within a month. She returned to the court with her team on Feb. 3, 2009. It didn’t matter that she could only play minimal minutes; Nolette was playing the game she loved. She is now excelling with the Gee-Gees and looks forward to playing out her eligibility with the garnet and grey.
Toronto’s veteran coach Michèle Bélanger is the East Coach of the Year. Bélanger and the Varsity Blues improved on last season’s 11-11 record and 0-1 playoff performance, finishing first in the East winning 18 games this year to host the East division Final Four. This is her eighth coach of the year award since winning it for the first time in the 1980-81 season.
Joining Sunley-Paisley on the first team are Ryerson’s Ashley MacDonald (Port Colborne), Laurentian’s Lisa Furchner (Sudbury), Queen’s Brittany Moore (Hannon), and Toronto’s Nicki Schutz (Toronto). MacDonald, Furchner, and Moore finished second, third and fourth, respectively in league scoring behind Windsor’s Jessica Clemencon, with Schutz ranking ninth with 14.24 points per game.
Goggins earns her second consecutive all-star nod, and is joined on the second team by York’s Brittany Szockyj (Niagara-on-the-Lake), Carleton’s Alyson Bush (Ottawa), Toronto’s Sherri Pierce (Brampton), and Ottawa’s Jenna Gilbert (Ottawa). Bush is the only member of this list honoured last season as an all-star.
Queen’s has two member of the all rookie team. Guard Liz Boag (Kingston) and wing Gemma Bullard (Guelph) represent the Gaels after standout first year performances. Rounding out the rookie list are Ottawa’s Kim Cupid (Toronto) and Ryerson’s Ashley Clarke (Montreal).