Reigning Big Sky MVP recognized for her contributions on and off the court
Eastern Washington women's basketball senior Julie Piper has been selected as one of 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as a NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
"I can't think of anyone who exemplifies class better than Julie," expressed EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "She is a great teammate, an unbelievable student, and her leadership and involvement on this campus is unparalleled."
The 2011 women's candidate class includes five players who were CoSIDA Academic All-Americans last year, 22 student-athletes with grade point averages of 3.0 or better, four players who participated in the 2010 Women's Final Four and 15 players on the preseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Award.
"I think this nomination is really well deserved, but it is also very humbling for her," added Schuller. "To see Julie's name alongside players like Jantel Lavender, Maya Moore, Angie Bjorklund and Courtney Vanderloot is something really special."
Piper was named the Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player in 2010, becoming the first women's basketball player in Eastern history to earn such an honor. She averaged a team-leading 11.8 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game throughout the 2009-10 campaign, while her output in conference play was even more impressive. She was among the top five rebounders in the BSC with 8.3 boards per game in league-only statistics. Her scoring average of 12.6 points per game was among the top 15 in the Big Sky, while her six double-doubles during the year tied for the second-most in the conference. Piper was a unanimous All-Big Sky first-team selection, and led the Eagles in either scoring or rebounding in 24 of their 31 games last year.
Piper, a two-year captain, has been a constant in the Eagle lineup since she arrived on campus in 2007. She has played in every single game since her rookie season, and has started all but seven of those contests.
Beyond her superior athletic skills, Piper has made significant contributions to the campus and community as a volunteer with Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and a leader with Campus Crusade for Christ and Athletes in Action. She is also a three-time Big Sky All-Academic Team member, who maintains a 3.67 grade point average in natural science education.
"As the MVP of the league last year, it's obvious that Julie does a great job on the court," said Schuller. "But I don't think there are many kids in America who go out of their way to help others quite like she does. This year, she moved back into the dorms as a senior, after living two years off campus, because she wanted to be in a position to help freshman and be there for them as a mentor. She completely immersed herself in that leadership role, and was truly excited about it. How many kids would be willing to do that? For her, she saw it as an opportunity to touch someone's life."
The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
Julie Piper and the rest of the Eagle women's basketball squad will make its 2010-11 season debut with an exhibition game against Simon Fraser on Sunday (Nov. 7) at 1:05 p.m. on Reese Court.
2010-11 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Women's Basketball Candidates
Name, Position, School
Kachine Alexander, Guard, Iowa
Erin Anthony, Forward, Army
Angie Bjorklund, Guard/Forward, Tennessee
Jessica Breland, Forward, North Carolina
Victoria Dunlap, Forward, Kentucky
Dawn Evans, Guard, James Madison
Amber Harris, Forward, Xavier
Ify Ibekwe, Forward, Arizona
Amy Jaeschke, Center, Northwestern
Alyssa Karel, Guard, Wisconsin
Michelle Kirk, Forward, American
Jantel Lavender, Center, Ohio State
Maya Moore, Forward, Connecticut
Kayla Pedersen, Forward, Stanford
Ta'Shia Phillips, Center, Xavier
Julie Piper, Forward, Eastern Washington
Jeanette Pohlen, Guard, Stanford
Lauren Prochaska, Forward, Bowling Green
Erica Prosser, Guard, Lehigh
Sam Quigley, Guard, DePaul
Liz Repella, Guard, West Virginia
Jence Rhoads, Guard, Vanderbilt
Danielle Robinson, Guard, Oklahoma
Jaleesa Ross, Guard, Fresno State
Sam Schuett, Forward, Creighton
Brittney Smith, Forward, Dartmouth
Helena Sverrisdottir, Guard/Forward, TCU
Kayla Tetschlag, Guard/Forward, Green Bay
Jasmine Thomas, Guard, Duke
Courtney Vandersloot, Guard, Gonzaga
About the Award
The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is presented each year to the outstanding senior NCAA Division I Student-Athlete of the Year across nine different sports. The acronym "CLASS" stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.
The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award celebrates the loyalty of seniors that honor a four-year commitment to their university. The Senior CLASS Award recognizes these student-athletes for great achievement during competition and in their community while staying in school.
Award winners are determined by a selection process that includes, NCAA Division I college coaches in each respective sport, national media, and fans. The voting process determines the winner in addition to a Senior CLASS All-America Team.
Public fan voting on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website takes place each year during the month leading up to the NCAA Championship.