2002-03 Vanderbilt Women's Basketball Honors 4/15/03

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt University held its annual Women's Basketball Awards Banquet on Tuesday at the Stadium Club and the following players were recognized for their achievements.

Most Improved Player - Abi Ramsey

Abi Ramsey (5-10, So., G) played in every game, started 16 and averaged a career-high 27.7 minutes played. She averaged 8.9 points per game, a 6.1 point per game improvement over 2001-02. She was fourth in the SEC in 3-pointers made (2.22) and sixth in 3-point percentage (39.4) as she became the third Commodore in VU history to make at least 70 3-pointers in a season. Her 71 3-pointers was the third-highest single-season total in program history. She hit at least one three pointer in all but four games. She hit six 3-pointers at Tennessee and totaled five vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee and vs. Florida in the SEC Tournament. Her six 3-pointers ranks second on the VU All-Time Single Game List. She also led the team with 52 steals (she had only seven last season) in 35 games. Ramsey recorded a team-high seven steals vs. Georgia and hit two free throws with .7 seconds remaining to give VU a 58-56 win in the contest. She was fouled at the offensive end after her steal on defense created a fast break.

She improved in virtually every statistical category. She tripled her field goals made (97 from 32); almost tripled her 3-pointers made output (71 from 27); and more than doubled her rebound total (79 from 32).

Past Recipients: 2002: Jill Corbett; 2001: Jillian Danker; 2000: Chavonne Hammond; 1999: Zuzi Klimesova; 1998: Lisa Ostrom and Jennifer Holmes; 1997: Paige Redman; 1996: Katie Janky; 1995: Lisa Ostrom; 1994: Angela Gorsica;
1993: Rhonda Blades; 1992: Jade Huntington

Most Outstanding Defensive Player - Ashley McElhiney

Ashley McElhiney (5-6, Sr., PG) is the second three-time recipient of this award. She totaled 15 40-minute games during the season and set the VU career for 40-minute games (38). She anchored the Commodores at the point guard position and directed the defense that held opponents to 39.9 percent shooting from the field for the season. Opponents scored more than 70 points just eight times. She missed two complete games and most of another with a high left ankle sprain, but returned in the Auburn game and played 34 minutes. In that contest, Vanderbilt came back from a 21-point deficit to win on the road in what is believed to be the largest comeback in VU history. She maintained her intensity even as she averaged a team-best 36.7 minutes per game. At 5-5, she is the shortest player to ever receive the award and only the second guard.

Past Recipients: 2002: Ashley McElhiney; 2001: Ashley McElhiney; 2000: Chavonne Hammond; 1999: Chavonne Hammond; 1998: Chavonne Hammond; 1997: Angela Gorsica; 1996: Na'Sheema Hillmon; 1995: Na'Sheema Hillmon and Angela Gorsica; 1994: Donna Harris; 1993: Shelley Jarrard; 1992: Heidi Gillingham

Chloe Stroop Spirit Award - Jenni Benningfield

Jenni Benningfield is the first two-time winner of this award. Benningfield (6-3, Jr., F) led the team and was sixth in the SEC with 7.9 rebounds a game. She ranked second on the team and fifth in the SEC in scoring with 16.5 points a game. She also ranked fourth in the league in field goal percentage hitting 55.6 percent of her shots (221-381). She became the 23rd Commodore to join the Vanderbilt 1000-point club. She totaled 11 double-doubles this season and led the Commodores in scoring in the SEC Tournament with 19.7 points a game. She gave the team a boost drawing 34 offensive fouls and led the team in scoring in 16 games and in rebounding in 19 games.

Having played out of position the previous two seasons, a change in 2002-03 not only showcased her as a perfect complement to Chantelle Anderson but also as a top-flight player in her own right.

Her unwavering determination and enthusiasm were of constant value throughout the season. Her dedication to her teammates makes her a deserving recipient of this award.

This award is named for Chloe Stroop, a longtime friend of women's basketball. Stroop, who worked in the Vanderbilt Athletics Department for 25 years, lost her battle with cancer February 22, 2000, after being diagnosed in December of 1995. She and her husband Ernest were very visible in all the Vanderbilt athletics programs, especially women's basketball. Ernest continues to work the Player Guest List table at home games. She affectionately referred to the team as "my girls."

Past Recipients: 2002: Jenni Benningfield; 2001: Ashley McElhiney and Venessa Ferragamo; 2000: Jackie Munch; 1999: Zuzi Klimesova; 1998: Paige Redman and Katie Janky; 1997: Nettie Respondek; Formerly the Vanderbilt Spirit Award: 1996: Ginger Jared; 1995: Kelly Dougherty; 1994: Angela Gorsica; 1993: Renee Allen; 1992: Sarah Mannes

Bedford Hunter Loyalty Award - Hillary Hager
The Commodore Award - Hillary Hager

Bedford Hunter Award: Hillary Hager was presented the Bedford Hunter Loyalty Award for putting in the extra time and going above and beyond. Her work ethic was not only evident during practices but before and after as well as she spent countless hours on her own, with teammates or under the guidance of coaches in an extended effort to improve her game. The results were obvious in her emergence as a starter and a clutch player who delivered in critical situations.

Bedford Hunter assumed the role of unofficial statistician and maintained a detailed set of records and statistics for the team and individuals at the start of the Vanderbilt women's program. He insured that seasons past would not be seasons forgotten.

Past Recipients of the Bedford Hunter Award: 2002: Hillary Hager; 2001: Candice Storey; 2000: Candice Storey; 1999: Candice Storey and Katie Janky;
1998: Candice Storey; 1997: Katie Janky; 1996: Mara Cunningham; 1995: Rhonda Blades; 1994: Bedford Hunter; 1993: Misty Lamb; 1992: Julie Powell.

The Commodore Award was established to recognize a player who is devoted to Vanderbilt and excels in all areas on and off the court. Hillary Hager is this year's recipient. Hager, a pre-med major, spent 10 days in Cusco, Peru, with teammate Venessa Ferragamo and staff members Lori Alexander and Kris Mack, providing medical care to an indigenous population largely in need of health care services. She also reclaimed her position in the starting lineup after not starting in a game last season. She averaged 33.1 minutes a game, while averaging only 6.7 last season. She maintains better than a 3.2 GPA

Past Recipients of the Commodore Award: 2002: Candice Storey; 2001: Zuzi Klimesova

A special recognition was given to senior center Chantelle Anderson who became Vanderbilt's all-time leading scorer. She broke the 12-year old mark with 2,604 career points. She also set the VU career marks for field goals made (1,020) and field goal percentage with a 65.1 mark (1020-1568). She was Vanderbilt's first two-time Kodak All-American and was a four-time All-SEC Player (three times All-SEC first team). She was the first Commodore to be named SEC Player of the Year (2002). In her sophomore season, she shot a nation-leading and SEC record 72.3 percent from the field against the third toughest schedule in the nation. That mark was 0.1 percent off the NCAA record, but did set the NCAA record for field goal percentage by a sophomore. Last season, she led the SEC and was second in the nation in field goal percentage with a 64.7 percentage (295-456).

- VU -


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