Women's basketball players receive academic honor

Posted on: March 19, 2012

The NAIA recently honored 162 Division II Women's Basketball student-athletes with the 2012 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes award. Tennessee Wesleyan College is home to five of the 162 young women who were recognized by the NAIA.

The NAIA recently honored 162 Division II Women’s Basketball student-athletes with the 2012 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes award. Tennessee Wesleyan College is home to five of the 162 young women who were recognized by the NAIA.

TWC Women’s Basketball Head Coach Jeff Rice nominated Christine Lumbasi, a senior from Nairobi, Kenya, Rochelle Davidson, a senior from Cookeville, Tenn., Leah Frazier, a senior from Riceville, Tenn., Lauren Murr, a  junior from Telford, Tenn., and Heather Gibson, a junior from Sweetwater, Tenn., for the award. In order to be selected, nominees needed to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must be either juniors or seniors at their academic institution.

“These young women not only succeeded in academics but they also made a significant contribution to their team’s success,” said Rice. “We want to recruit kids for our program who excel not only on the basketball court but also in the classroom.

“We have a lot of players who make good grades. This is five of the 16 players on the team and there were several more that haven’t reached junior standing to qualify for the award but who have the grades to merit the recognition in the future.”

Rice believes academics come first with basketball coming in a close second he said.

“Athletics really are a vehicle for most students to pay for their education,” said Rice. “That education is the priority. I want my players to be great students number one and great basketball players after that.”

Playing approximately 30 games between the fall and spring seasons, the awarded scholar-athletes and their teammates spend a lot of their time at afternoon practices and traveling to away games.

“They are on the road for games, missing classes,” said Rice. “They’re practicing for two hours a day, two hours that could have been time used for studying. I see my players on the bus all the time with their books open and notebooks out. They study whenever they can find the time.”

All five students are examples of the kind of scholar-athletes the TWC athletic program wants playing on its teams said Donny Mayfield, director of athletics.

“When you can find great team success and have the combination of high academic standards and athletic abilities, it enhances the overall college experience and development of these young women,” said Mayfield.