Huskies Hand Out Team Awards At Season-End Banquet

April 16, 2008

SEATTLE -- Senior point guard Emily Florence took home six awards including the team's Most Valuable Player honor, at the annual Washington women's basketball banquet that was held at the Don James Center on the UW campus, Wednesday evening.

Florence also garnered her fourth-straight Defensive Player of the Year honor and third-straight Lions Club Assists Award, in addition to being named the Kayla Burt Most Inspirational Player and the Big Dawg Award winner given to the team's top rebounder. For good measure, Florence garnered the 101 Club Scholar Athlete Award.

Other Husky honorees included sophomore guard Sami Whitcomb and freshman center Kali Bennett. Whitcomb received the Heart and Hustle Award and the Tyee Sports Council Community Service Award, while Bennett was tabbed the Most Improved Player. Whitcomb led the squad in steals and was named to the Pac-10 Defensive Honorable Mention team, while Bennett shared the team lead in blocked shots.

Also recognized was the Huskies' outgoing senior class of Florence, Andrea Plouffe and Dominique Banks. The trio made substantial contributions to the program the last four years, leading the Huskies to two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2005-06 and 2006-07. They will all graduate from UW in June.

'It's always difficult to watch seniors depart your program,' UW head coach Tia Jackson said. 'But as a coach, you find yourself resting easy at night when you see them walk across that platform to receive their college degrees, knowing it has prepared them to take on the next phase of their lives. Just like most parents, coaches gain a sense of pride that we've done all we can in the time that we had them, to train them for whatever life throws their way. Our seniors Dom, Dre and Emily are shining examples of leadership, great effort, compassion and commitment. They've helped lay the groundwork for the next era of our women's basketball program, and we will make them proud to call themselves Huskies. There is no doubt in my mind that they will be great future leaders in their next endeavors and surely they will be missed immensely.'

Florence, who started all but three games of her career at point guard, capped her UW tenure with a nod to the 2008 All-Pac-10 Third-Team and was named to the inaugural Pac-10 Defensive Team as well. As a senior, the Boise, Idaho native led the Huskies in rebounding and assists, and was second in steals while averaging a career-high 6.2 points per game. Florence ranks fifth on UW's all-time list for assists (397) and is seventh in assists (217). A standout student, she was also a three-time selection to the Pac-10 All-Academic Team including a first-team nod this year. She will graduate with a degree in communications.

'I have made some of the best memories of my life here at UW,' Florence said. 'Being a part of the Husky basketball program is something I will hold in my heart forever. The relationships I have made along the way will last a lifetime. I learned through hard work and adversity comes great accomplishments. Thank you to everyone that was a part of the Husky program for making my dreams come true.'

Banks will depart after earning three letters and redshirting this past season. The guard from Stockton, Calif., was named to the 2004-05 Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention team and established her career-high 19-point scoring performance as a rookie that year as well. She started all but one game as a sophomore and averaged 7.2 points before injuries took a toll on her as a junior. She underwent surgery to repair stress fractures in both legs before the 2006-07 season and missed the first 11 games that year. Banks will graduate with a degree in American Ethnic Studies.

'At Washington I was given the chance to experience what it means to be a student-athlete at one of the most prestigious schools in the country,' Banks said. 'I believe that I will be a Husky forever. I am so appreciative of everyone who has impacted me and helped me to grow during my time here in Seattle - the academic and athletic staff past and present, the fans, my teammates past and present. The memories I have and the life skills I have learned on and off the court will forever be ingrained in my mind and heart. This has been a journey that has meant so much to me and my family.'

Plouffe, a 6-2 forward/center from Edmonton, Alberta, was a three-year starter for the Huskies. As a senior, although hampered by chronic injuries, she finished third on the team in scoring with 8.7 points after missing the first 10 contests. Plouffe's 43 career double-figure scoring efforts rank 21st in UW history and she averaged over 10 points per game as a sophomore and junior. She was a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic Team honoree, capped with a second-team nod this year. She will graduate with a degree in sociology.

'During my time at Washington I've learned that I can push myself mentally and physically further than I ever thought possible,' Plouffe said. 'Through my trials and tribulations as a Husky, the sisters and friends I have made while I was here have taught me so much and have allowed me to grow as a person. Thank you to all those who have helped me prepare for future endeavors because I will succeed in life.'

2007-08 Washington Women's Basketball Team Awards
101 Club Scholar Athlete Award: Emily Florence
Tyee Sports Council Community Service Award: Sami Whitcomb
Lion's Club Assists Leader: Emily Florence
Big Dawg Award: Emily Florence
Heart and Hustle Award: Sami Whitcomb
Kayla Burt Most Inspirational Award: Emily Florence
Defensive Player of the Year Award: Emily Florence
Most Improved Player Award: Kali Bennett
Most Valuable Player: Emily Florence

-- --