Benson Named to Academic All-District Second Team

Feb. 7, 2008

Sydney Benson of the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team has been named to the ESPN The Magazine All-District 8 Second Team. The junior has shown outstanding prowess both on the basketball court and in the classroom this year and throughout her career at Eastern.

Academically, Benson is carrying a 3.88 grade point average while earning a double major in French and English. Previously, she has been named to the Big Sky Conference's All-Academic Team for winter quarter 2007 and will likely earn that honor again this year.

On the court, Benson just attained her 500th career rebound on Saturday (Feb. 4) in Eastern's game with Montana. Also, she is shooting 45.1 percent from the floor (82-of-182) and an almost-school record 82.9 percent from the free throw line. That latter average currently ranks second in a single season in school history and currently ranks her 52nd among NCAA Division I players in 2007-08.

"It's a tremendous accomplishment," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "It's a testament to her ability on the basketball floor and to her work ethic and her ability in the classroom. It is very difficult to balance athletics and academics, and to do it at such a high level on both ends says a lot for her. She manages her time well and strives to do great in everything she does. I'm proud of her."

Overall, the Snohomish, Wash., native is averaging 11.0 points and a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per game. The points per game average is the top among healthy players on the Eastern roster (Kyla Evans and Katy Baker are out due to injuries). Meanwhile her career free throw percentage of 76.2 (160-of-210) would place her second in school annals in that category and her rebounds per game average of 6.49 would place her ninth.

She has also helped lead the Eagles to top-10 appearances on the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches Association Academic Honor Roll Top 25 in each of her first two seasons at Eastern Washington.

Benson and the Eagles will play host to Sacramento State tonight (Feb. 7) at 7:05 p.m.

ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 8 First Team
Delaney Conway, Portland State - senior, 3.99 GPA, science
Jami Bjorklund, Gonzaga - junior, 3.94 GPA, business administration
Lindsey Pluimer, UCLA - senior, 3.71 GPA, communication studies
Elizabeth Doran, Santa Clara - junior, 3.95 GPA, engineering
Kelsey Kahle, Portland State - junior, 3.72 GPA, English

ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 8 Second Team
Tasha Harris, Boise State - graduate, 3.60 GPA, communication
Robyn Fairbanks, Utah Valley State - junior, 3.22 GPA, exercise science
Jessica Campbell, UC Davis - senior, 3.76 GPA, international relations
Sydney Benson, Eastern Washington - junior, 3.88 GPA, French and English
Lauren Sims, Long Beach State - sophomore, 4.00 GPA, biology
Rachel Warren, Portland - senior, 3.75 GPA, global business and accounting
Lauren Shaughnessy, Saint Mary's - graduate, 3.84 GPA (3.62 GPA, grad), kinesiology and sport and recreation management
Lisa Olden, San Francisco - senior, 3.91 GPA, accounting

ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 8 Third Team
Dominique Carter, San Francisco - senior, 3.38 GPA, accounting
Kate Engelbrecht, Arizona State - junior, 3.74 GPA, kinesiology
Sequoia Holmes, UNLV - senior, 3.25 GPA, psychology

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