Photo by Charlie Lindsay

Five Rams earn OUA conference honours

By Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is excited to announce the 2016-17 women's basketball major awards and all-stars.

The Ryerson Rams have five players honoured this season including Nicole DiDomenico, winning the Joy Bellinger Award, presented annually to the student-athlete who excels in academics, athletics, and community service. DiDomenico is the third Ram to ever win the award and the first in ten years.

Sofia Paska and Kellie Ring have been named First-Team All-Stars while freshmen Bronwyn Williams and Emma Fraser have been named to the All-Rookie Team.

Full release below from OUA:

One of the best players in the conference, if not the entire country, in her fifth and final season, Danielle Boiago (Hamilton, Ont.) has been named OUA Player of the Year, and a first-team all-star for a third consecutive season. 

Appearing in all 19 games this year, Boiago led the conference averaging 25.5 points per 40 minutes.  In addition she also finished third overall in several additional offensive categories, including: assists (81) and three-pointers made (51).  Boiago becomes the first Marauders player to win the award since Lindsay Degroot won the award in back in 2008.

Not only was Boiago recognized for her work on offence but the Hamilton, Ont. native has also been named the OUA Defensive Player of the Year as well. 

Not only did Boiago lead the league in steals (63) but she also ranked inside the top ten in rebounds per game (7.0).  Boiago follows in the footsteps of former McMaster defensive specialist Rachel Hart who claimed both OUA and U SPORTS (formerly CIS) honours following the 2008 season.  Boiago, who finishes her McMaster career as their all-time leading scorer with 1,719 points, becomes the second-consecutive winner of both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Joining Boiago as an OUA first-team all-star is teammate Linnaea Harper (Newmarket, Ont.) who in her third season with the team finished second behind Boiago in team scoring, averaging 12.6 points per game.  Harper also finished ninth in the conference with a 46.7 field goal percentage.

The Tracy McLeod Award is given annually to a female student-athlete in recognition of determination, perseverance, and unwavering spirit, and this year is awarded to Marauders guard Vanessa Pickard (Riverview, NB).

Since joining the Marauders prior to the 2015-16 season, the journey hasn't been easy for Pickard as several major injuries have attempted to derail her career.  However, the Riverview NB refuses to give up on the game she loves. 

In her first year with McMaster, Pickard tore her ACL in just her fifth game requiring surgery and facing a long road to recovery.  More than 15 month after her surgery, Pickard returned to the court but a concussion in her first practice back and a strained MCL a couple weeks later derailed her much anticipated return. 

One of the hardest working and positive players in the Marauders locker room, Pickard finally returned to the lineup for McMaster earlier this season in an exhibition game over the December break.

Appearing in 12 games this season for McMaster, Picked averaged 11.2 points per game, while her points per 40 minutes (23.8) was the fourth-highest mark in the conference.

Olivia Wilson (Oakville, Ont.) had a strong first season in the OUA and is the Marauders lone OUA Rookie Team selection.

Windsor Lancers guard and freshman phenom Kayah Clarke (Hamilton, Ont.) took the league by storm in her first year and has been named OUA Rookie of the Year and a Rookie Team selection.  Clarke, who played with the Hamilton Transway before joining the Lancers, started 17 games in her rookie season and finished third on the Lancers in points per game (11.5).  Clarke becomes the first Windsor student-athlete to earn the honours since former Lancer Jessica Clemencon won the award in 2010.

The Lancers will be making their tenth consecutive OUA Final Four appearance thanks in large part to the play of first-team all-star Emily Prevost (Montreal, Que).  Prevost, a fourth-year human kinetics major, led OUA in both offensive (73) and defensive (135) rebounds and was the Lancers top scorer, finishing in the top 10 with 14.5 points per game.  The Montreal, Que. native is an OUA all-star for a second straight season after being selected to the second team a season ago.   

After being named a first-team all-star last year, Lancers forward Cheyanne Roger (Etobicoke, Ont.) has been selected to represent the Lancers on the second-team this season.

Coming off one of the best seasons in program history and their 20th consecutive playoff appearance, Queen's Gaels head coach Dave Wilson has been rewarded for his efforts behind the bench with the OUA Coach of the Year award.

Finishing the year with an 18-1 record as the top seeded team in the OUA, Wilson also led the Gaels to their highest ranking in program history when they peaked at No. 3 in the U SPORTS Top Ten rankings back on Feb. 7, 2017.  Now in his 36th year with the Gaels, this is the 3rd Coach of the Year Award for Wilson after he previously earned the honours back in 1997-98 and 2013-14.

However, Wilson would be the first one to point to the players on the court for their success this season as the Gaels roster features three OUA first- and second-team all-stars.

Gaels forward Robyn Pearson (Toronto, Ont.) controlled the boards all season long for the Gaels, finishing third in OUA after averaging 10.2 rebounds.  Pearson, who is a first-team all-star for the second time in as many seasons, was only one of five players this year to average a double-double after recording 10.1 points per game.

Joining Pearson as a first-team all-star this year is shifty Gaels guard Emily Hazlett (Fredericton, N.B.).  In her fifth and final season, Hazlett is an OUA all-star for the first time in her career after she was the catalyst of a Gaels high-powered offence that average the second-most points per game in the province.  Starting all 19 games this season, the Fredericton, N.B. native finished fifth in the conference with 78 assists.

Power forward Andrea Priamo (Guelph, Ont.) has earned OUA second-team all-star honours, while Queen's rookie sensation and Kingston, Ont. native Bridget Mulholland (Kingston, Ont.) has been named to the rookie team.

Ryerson Rams guard Nicole DiDomenico (Niagara Falls, Ont.) is the OUA nominee for the Joy Bellinger Award, presented annually to the student-athlete who excels in academics, athletics, and community service. 

When she isn't on the court for the Rams, DiDomenico is a dedicated student-athlete who is more than generous with her time in the local community.  Earlier this year, DiDomenico played a large role in the Rams' Shoot for the Cure initiative where over $5,000 were raised and over 50 inches of hair were donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Society.

DiDomenico is also actively involved with the Toronto Community Housing Events/Nike Basketball Academy where she spoke with at risk and underprivileged children about bullying and the power of sport.  She is also an active member of the Ryerson Rams Toy Drive and Rising Rams program which encourages children to stay active.

In the classroom, the Niagara Falls, Ont. native is an Academic Mentor for the Ryerson Athletic Department where he she helps fellow students manage and refine study skills as well as review tests and papers.

When she isn't on the court with the Rams, DiDomenico can usually still be found in the gym, helping to develop future female basketball players.  Back home, DiDomenico has coached with Basketball Ontario TIDP and has travelled across Canada and the United States with the No Limit Basketball Performance program.

Appearing in all 19 games this season with the Rams, DiDomenico averaged 4.1 points while seeing almost 19 minutes of action per game.

Rams forward Sofia Paska (Etobicoke, Ont.) is an OUA first-team all-star for the a second consecutive season after she averaged 18.5 points and 10.4 rebounds while starting all 19 games this season.  Paska, who was also selected to the OUA rookie team following the 2014-15 season, was almost impossible for the opposition to contain as witnessed by her league leading 100 made free throws.

After transferring from uOttawa prior to the start of the season, Ryerson guard Kellie Ring (Ottawa, Ont.) didn't miss a step as she's been selected an OUA first-team all-star in back-to-back seasons.  Ring, who played four seasons with the Gee-Gees, finished third in OUA with 81 assists and ranked inside the top ten in league scoring with 14.6 points per game.

The future continues to look bright for the Rams as they were the only team in the league to have two rookie team selections as Bronwyn Williams (Toronto, Ont.) and Emma Fraser (Toronto, Ont.) have been given the nod.

Still in search of their first women's basketball title in program history, the Carleton Ravens roster features two OUA first-team all-star selections.

Heather Lindsay (Ottawa, Ont.) was one of the most dominant players in the conference (and possibly the country) this season and is an OUA first-team all-star for a second consecutive year.  Lindsay not only led the OUA with 10.8 rebounds per game, but she also shot a league-high 55.8 percent from the field.

After spending several seasons at uOttawa, Carleton forward Catherine Traer (Chelsea, Que.) flew across town and joined the rival Ravens for her fourth season.  A former OUA rookie team selection back in 2012-13, Traer led the Ravens in scoring with 14.6 points per game and is a first-team all-star for the first time in her career after being named to the second-team last year.

In her third season in the league, Ravens forward Elizabeth Leblanc (London, Ont.) is an OUA second-team selection for a second straight season.

Despite an injury shortened season, Brock Badgers forward Kira Cornelissen (Alymer, Ont.) has been named an OUA all-star for the first time in her career.  The Alymer, Ont. native is an first-team selection after she led OUA with 20.2 points per game and finished fourth in rebounding, averaging 10.3 boards.

After transferring from Guelph to Brock prior to the season, Bridget Atkinson (Welland, Ont.) turned in another all-star caliber season and is a member of the second-team for a third consecutive year.

Laurier advanced to the OUA quarter-finals this season and a pair of Golden Hawks have been named to the OUA second-team.  Golden Hawks fifth-year guard Kaitlyn Schenck (Kitchener, Ont.) is an all-star for the first time, while guard Nicole Morrison (Hamilton, Ont.) earns the honours for a second straight season after being named to the first-team last year.

Rachel Woodburn (Courtice, Ont.) was a pleasant surprise for the Hawks and has been selected to represent Laurier on the rookie team.

Western forward Julia Curran (Waterloo, Ont.) continues to develop into one of the best young players in the league and is an OUA second-team all-star after being named OUA Rookie of the Year a season ago.  After being selected as an OUA first-team all-star last year, Mustangs guard Mackenzie Puklicz (London, Ont.) will represent Western this season on the second team. 

After being named to the rookie team in 2013-14, uOttawa Gee-Gees guard Sarah Besselink (Kingston, Ont.) has been selected to the second-team after leading the team with 13.8 points per game.

Representing the Gee-Gees on the rookie team is guard Amelie Hachey (Drummondville, Que).

For the Lakehead Thunderwolves, Bridget O'Reilly (Seaforth, Ont.) has been named an OUA second-team all-star for the first time in her career, while freshman phenom Nikki Ylagan (Mississauga, Ont.) is a rookie team selection.

Rounding out the rookie team selections are Laurentian Voyageurs guard Kayla Deschatelets (Timmins, Ont.) and York Lions forward Meagan MacLeod (Niagara Falls, Ont.)

OUA Major Award Winners

Player of the Year: Danielle Boiago – McMaster Marauders
Defensive Player of the Year: Danielle Boiago – McMaster Marauders
Rookie of the Year: Kayah Clarke – Windsor Lancers
Joy Bellinger Award: Nicole DiDomenico – Ryerson Rams
Tracy McLeod Award: Vanessa Pickard – McMaster Marauders
Coach of the Year: Dave Wilson – Queen's Gaels

OUA First-Team All-Stars

Danielle Boiago – McMaster Marauders
Linnaea Harper – McMaster Marauders
Sofia Paska – Ryerson Rams
Kellie Ring – Ryerson Rams
Robyn Pearson – Queen's Gaels
Emily Hazlett – Queen's Gaels
Heather Lindsay – Carleton Ravens
Catherine Traer – Carleton Ravens
Emily Prevost – Windsor Lancers
Kira Cornelissen – Brock Badgers

OUA Second-Team All-Stars

Kaitlyn Schenck – Laurier Golden Hawks
Nicole Morrison – Laurier Golden Hawks
Mackenzie Puklicz – Western Mustangs
Julia Curran – Western Mustangs
Sarah Besselink – uOttawa Gee-Gees
Cheyanne Roger – Windsor Lancers
Bridget Atkinson – Brock Badgers
Elizabeth Leblanc – Carleton Ravens
Andrea Priamo – Queen's Gaels
Bridget O'Reilly – Lakehead Thunderwolves

OUA All-Rookie Team

Bronwyn Williams – Ryerson Rams
Emma Fraser – Ryerson Rams
Kayah Clarke – Windsor Lancers
Kayla Deschatelets – Laurentian Voyageurs
Bridget Mulholland – Queen's Gaels
Amalie Hachey – uOttawa Gee-Gees
Rachel Woodburn – Laurier Golden Hawks
Olivia Wilson – McMaster Marauders
Megan MacLeod – York Lions
Nikki Ylagan – Lakehead Thunderwolves



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