Canada West Communications
- Winnipeg Wesmen guard Antionette Miller is the Canada West Women's Basketball Outstanding Player, as well as the conference's top defensive player
- Victoria Vikes Jenna Krug (Sylvia Sweeney Award) and Paige Thomson (Tracy MacLeod Award) claimed honours ahead of hosting the U SPORTS national tournament March 9-12
- Regina's Kyanna Giles is the conference Rookie of the Year
- The Canada West Women's Basketball Final Four is slated for this Friday and Saturday at the University of Saskatchewan's Physical Activity Complex
EDMONTON – Winnipeg Wesmen guard Antoinette Miller was a big winner Wednesday, as the Canada West women's basketball awards were handed out.
The fourth-year guard from Phoenix, Arizona earned two honours from the conference's 17 head coaches – who voted for the award winners – as she was named the Canada West Outstanding Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year.
Winning both awards is a remarkable accomplishment for the Canada West veteran, who led the conference in scoring with 18.7 PPG, while also finishing first in assists (76), third in steals (72), and sixth in defensive rebounds (118).
Along with Miller, Winnipeg head coach Tanya McKay was also honoured Wednesday, as her coaching peers selected her as the conference's top coach in 2016-17. The veteran coach, who has over 400 career wins and four national medals to her name, led the Wesmen to the conference's best record this season at 18-2.
When it comes to rookies, no one was better this season than Regina's Kyanna Giles. The Canada West third team all-star and all-rookie averaged nearly 13 points per game this season on a Regina team that went 17-3.
Both Regina and Winnipeg are in Saskatoon this weekend, where they'll be joined by the Alberta Pandas and host Saskatchewan Huskies at the CW Final Four. Alberta and Saskatchewan meet in Friday's early semifinal (6:15 p.m. CT), while Winnipeg and Regina meet in the second game (8:15 p.m. CT). The medal round is slated for Saturday at 5 p.m. CT (bronze) and 7 p.m. CT (gold).
All Canada West Final Four games can be seen live on CanadaWest.tv
Rounding out the award winners are a pair of Victoria Vikes. Jenna Krug is the Sylvia Sweeney Award winner for excellence in basketball, academics, and community service, while Paige Thomson is the Tracy MacLeod Award winner in recognition of her determination, perseverance, and unwavering spirit.
While Victoria won't be at this weekend's CW Final Four in Saskatoon, they will be at U SPORTS nationals March 9-12, as the Vikes play host to the nation's best on Vancouver Island.
2016-17 CW Women's Basketball Award Winners
Outstanding Player of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Fourth-year guard Antoinette Miller had one of the most dominant seasons in recent Canada West history, leading a resurgent Wesmen team that improved by 10 wins this season from a year ago (8-12 in 2015-16) and winning both the CW Outstanding Player of the Year award and Defensive Player of the Year award. Miller led the conference in scoring with 18.7 PPG, while also finishing first in assists (76), third in steals (72), and sixth in defensive rebounds (118).
Miller now moves forward as the conference nominee for the Nan Copp Award as the top player in U SPORTS women's basketball, as well as the Canada West nominee for the national defensive player of the year award.
"Our program is so proud of Antoinette for receiving the Outstanding Player Award from Canada West. To be at or near the top in almost every offensive statistical category proves Antoinette is an exceptional offensive player, who is also a very unique defensive talent. She is not only amazing on her own, she works very hard to make others around her better on both ends of the court. This award recognizes Antoinette as a special player, but what we see in Antoinette is a special person whose personality and energy is infectious, and who is much-loved by her teammates, and all that come in contact with her.
"Antoinette is one of the most explosive and tenacious defenders I have had the pleasure to coach in my 21 years at the University of Winnipeg. As a diminutive 5'6" guard, Antoinette has inflicted havoc on the league with her ability to disrupt the oppositions' offence with her amazing anticipation skills, her quick hands, relentless pursuit defending the ball, along with her gift to come out of the pack with a defensive rebound." – Winnipeg head coach Tanya McKay
Rookie of the Year
Giles has been a revelation for the Cougars in her first season on campus. Only a year removed from starring for Winnipeg's Sisler High School, Giles not only averaged 12.9 points per game but was also the team's leading rebounder with 7.3 boards per contest. She was also one of the conference's best from three-point range, hitting 21 triples and shooting over 41% from downtown. Giles was also the first Cougar rookie to earn conference all-star recognition since 1996, as she was named a conference third team all-star.
Giles now moves forward as the Canada West nominee for the Kathy Shields Award as U SPORTS rookie of the year.
"Kyanna came in and had an immediate impact in all areas. She not only led our team in rebounding and was our second leading scorer, but we also asked her to guard multiple positions and she was able to do that effectively. She's the first rookie to start for us in the past 11 years, and to do that for a highly ranked team is extremely impressive." – Regina head coach Dave Taylor
Sylvia Sweeney Award
North Vancouver, B.C.
Jenna Krug led the Vikes in assists per game this season at 3.6, while playing over 30 minutes per game. The veteran guard has been an Academic All-Canadian and University of Victoria Honour Roll member each of the last four years with an 8.3 GPA (nine-point scale). In addition to her excellence on the floor and in the classroom, Krug also volunteers at NeuroMotion – a physiotherapy clinic which specializes in treating people with neurological impairments. She also spends time working with the Victoria Special Olympics basketball team.
Krug moves forward as the Canada West nominee for the national Sylvia Sweeney Award.
"Jenna has given her heart and soul to UVIC and the Victoria community for 5 years. She would prefer to do it all under the radar and does not like the attention, but we are all so thankful and proud of her accomplishments on and off the court. She is a shining example of a student athlete who has great balance is her life.
"She gives back so much to those around her and in her own unassuming way is the engine that makes our team go." – Victoria head coach Dani Sinclair
Tracy MacLeod Award
Paige Thomson has worked harder than most to achieve her basketball goals, as the third-year forward suffers from a heart condition known as supraventricular tachycardia – a condition that causes abnormal heart rhythm. Thomson battles through unpredictable episodes with heavy heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, and faintness among other symptoms. Over the last 12 months alone, Thomson has undergone two surgeries related to the condition, but has kept positive in her pursuit of both her athletic and academic goals.
Along with her heart condition, Thomson is dyslexic, and has worked extremely hard in her academic pursuits. The Fine Arts student achieved a B average the last academic session and is a shining example of what hard work and a positive attitude can achieve.
Thomson moves forward as the conference nominee for the U SPORTS Tracy MacLeod Award.
"Paige is unbelievably determined and strong. She has never complained about the hand she's been dealt, but instead uses it as fuel and motivation to keep working hard to achieve her goals. It would have been very easy for Paige to step away from basketball after two heart procedures, but instead her passion to play has only grown stronger." – Victoria head coach Dani Sinclair.
Coach of the Year
A distinguished coach with over 400 career victories, McKay has been head coach of the University of Winnipeg Women's Basketball program for 21 seasons, winning national silver medals in 2002 and 2004.
An outstanding player for the Wesmen (1986-1991), she was named an All-Canadian three times. McKay finished her career as the fourth all-time women's basketball scoring and is a member of the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame.
The veteran coach engineered a massive turnaround in Winnipeg this season by going 18-2 – a 10-win improvement from 2015-16.
McKay now moves forward as the Canada West nominee for the Peter Ennis Award as U SPORTS TIMEX coach of the year.
"On behalf of the Wesmen and personally, I am so pleased that Tanya has been recognized for her team's accomplishments. Tanya is a great teacher of the game, an outstanding recruiter, and more importantly she is a fantastic leader and role model. I couldn't be happier that her peers have chosen her as the 2016-17 Canada West Coach of the Year." – Winnipeg athletic director Dave Crook.