June 26, 2013
NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- Utah Valley University women's basketball standout Sammie Jensen has been named the Great West Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2012-13. The award is the single highest individual award bestowed by the GWC and honors the outstanding academic achievement, athletic achievement, attitude, and leadership of one male and one female student-athlete.
"I think this is a particularly special award," said UVU head women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon. "It's not terribly often that you see the league's Player of the Year also becoming the Student-Athlete of the Year. It's a testament to Sammie and her ability balance academics and athletics. She took a lot of very difficult classes and for her to put in the necessary time and effort to be very successful in both facets is a tremendous accomplishment."
Jensen has already earned renown within the league for her play on the court, picking up back-to-back Player of the Year awards between her junior and senior seasons. She led the Wolverines to their first-ever GWC regular season championship in 2012-13, averaging a double-double at 17.5 points per game and 14.1 rebounds per contest. Her efforts on the glass were good for the second-highest rebounding average in the nation.
The Stansbury Park, Utah, native kicked off her career at UVU as a sophomore transfer, promptly earning Newcomer of the Year honors after averaging 14.0 ppg and 10.7 rpg in her debut season. She concluded her career with 1,296 career points and 1,008 career rebounds -- just the second Wolverine ever to accumulate 1,000 career points and rebounds in a career.
She holds a 3.64 GPA in biology and was a member of the GWC All-Academic team each season that she was eligible. Jensen was also named to the Capital One All-District 8 Women's Basketball team this past season alongside other West Region notables Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford and Taryn Wicijowski of Utah. She plans on attending medical school after graduation.
"It means a lot to win this award," said Jensen, "and it just goes to show that hard work always pays off in the end. It was definitely difficult to balance school and basketball, but it was something that I was dedicated to accomplishing -- and at a high level.
"I am honored to receive this award and want to extend my sincere thanks to the Great West Conference, my teammates, the women's basketball coaching staff, and the tremendous academic support team at UVU. I know this award would not have been possible without their support."
To be eligible for the GWC Scholar-Athlete Award a student-athlete must be a junior or senior who has completed two seasons of athletic competition in a conference sponsored sport at a member institution and must have a minimum grade point average of 3.2. The student-athlete must display an exemplary mental attitude toward his or her peers and academic and athletic mentors, including leadership, maturity, integrity and contributions to the community. Each institution can nominate one male and one female student-athlete for the award through its faculty athletics representative, and the honorees are determined by a vote of the member institutions.
Holton Hunsaker of UVU men's basketball claimed Scholar-Athlete of the Year on the men's side, giving the Wolverines the clean sweep of the award.
"On behalf of the entire league, I want to congratulate Holton and Sammie on their prestigious Scholar-Athlete Awards," said GWC Commissioner Ed Grom. "They led a group of deserving nominees who have found the right balance of excellence in both athletics and academics, while maintaining high character and setting an example of leadership on campus. The demands on a student-athlete's time is immense, and all our nominees are to be commended for their efforts."
Other athletes nominated for the award were Chicago State's Sydney Van Munster (volleyball/ track & field) and Jeremy Robinson (basketball); Houston Baptist's Shelby Horn (soccer) and Jake Gonzalez (baseball); NJIT's Meryl Hershfield (soccer) and Tripp Davis (baseball); and Texas-Pan American's Judith Chumba (cross country/track & field) and Martin Casse (cross country/track & field).