January 9, 2013

Eagle Basketball Players Garner Scholar-Athlete Honors for January

Venky Jois and Aubrey Ashenfelter recognized for impressive fall quarters both on and off the court

The Eastern Washington University athletic department has announced its Scholar-Athlete award winners for the month of January. For the first time in their careers, freshman Venky Jois from the men’s basketball team and junior Aubrey Ashenfelter from the women’s squad took home the honor.

This award recognizes the athletic and academic success of student-athletes, based primarily on performances turned in during the month prior, so in this case, December.

Jois, an international student from Boronia, Australia, holds a 3.97 grade point average as a biology major. Ashenfelter, a 2010 graduate of Southridge High School in Portland, Ore., has maintained a 3.60 cumulative GPA as a psychology major. She posted the best quarter of her academic career last fall, earning a 3.95 GPA.

More on Jois

True freshman Venky Jois was recently selected to the Collegehoopsdaily.com All-Big Sky Conference team from the first half of the season. The 6-7 forward from Boronia, Australia, has had six double-doubles this season to rank 23rd in NCAA Division I.

He averaged a double-double in five games in December, with 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He also averaged 2.0 blocked shots, 1.4 assists and 1.4 steals during the month.

Jois had 13 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots in his most recent double-double versus Idaho State in a 57-54 Eagle win on Dec. 22. That came two days after he scored 21 points with five rebounds in EWU’s league opener versus Weber State.

He had his best game as an Eagle with 22 points and 13 rebounds on 10-of-14 shooting in Eastern's 79-75 win over Cal State Fullerton, which earned Jois Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors.

For the season, he is averaging 34.0 minutes, 13.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocked shots, 1.0 steals and 1.5 assists per game. He leads the league in rebounding and ranks 43rd in NCAA Division I (through Jan. 6). Earlier in the season, he was selected to the All-Tournament Team for his performances in the 2012 College Basketball Experience (CBE) Hall of Fame Classic in Santa Clara, Calif. He had a pair of double-doubles with 19 points and 11 rebounds in EWU’s 75-70 win over South Carolina Upstate and 16 points and 11 boards one game earlier in an 86-83 loss to Utah Valley.

Jois came to Eastern after winning a pair of MVP awards in Australia. He was the Bob Staunton 2012 U-20 National Championship MVP, after leading the Victoria State Team to the championship and an unbeaten record. Saint Mary’s College and NBA standout Patty Mills won the Bob Staunton MVP Award in 2006 and 2007. In addition, Jois was the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) Youth Player of the Year in 2011, an award given to the top under-23 player and previously won by college and NBA standouts Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut.

More on Ashenfelter

After two years as a role player for EWU, Ashenfelter has seen her responsibilities on the court change dramatically in her junior year. Not only is she one of the team’s main offensive threats, but is most often asked to guard the opposing team’s top player.

As a sophomore, Ashenfelter averaged 6.3 points on 33 percent shooting. This season, she is averaging 9.2 points on 39 percent from the floor. After posting 38 total assists throughout the 2011-12 campaign, Ashenfelter has already dished out a team-leading 37 this season. She has also proved to be one of the most lethal 3-point shooters in the Big Sky, averaging 1.5 per game on 43.2 percent, which ranks as the third-best percentage in the league.

In Eastern’s five games in the month of December, Ashenfelter averaged 11.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals. She shot 45 percent from the field during the month, 47 percent from three and 89 percent from the free-throw line.

She had three-consecutive outings with double-digit points, including a season-high 18 in EWU’s conference debut at Weber State on Dec. 20, which was an 88-60 win for the Eagles. That performance came on the heels of a 16-point effort in Eastern’s 74-63 win at Boise State on Dec. 7. She also had four rebounds and three assists against the Broncos.

Ashenfelter has started all 13 games of the 2012-13 campaign, averaging 29.2 minutes per game. In her career, she has logged a total of 1,562 minutes, making her the second-most experienced player on the roster. She is also a two-time Big Sky All-Academic honoree.

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