DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
Antoinette Miller has done something no other women’s basketball player in Canada West history can claim.
The fifth-year Winnipeg Wesmen point guard was named the Canada West women’s basketball player of the year on Thursday as well as the defensive player of the year, the first time in conference history someone has won both awards in back-to-back years.
The conference also announced third-year forward Lena Wenke was the Canada West’s Tracy MacLeod Award winner for determination and perseverance through adversity.
In 2016-17 Miller became just the second player in conference history to win both player of the year and top defensive player in Canada West.
The native of Phoenix outdid herself in her final season with the Wesmen. After averaging 18.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.6 steals in 2016-17, Miller raised all of those numbers in her senior season.
Miller led the nation in scoring (25.9 points per game) and steals (3.9), and shot 39.7 per cent from the three-point line, which was second in Canada West and seventh in U SPORTS. Miller also averaged 9.1 rebounds per game, sixth in Canada West and second among guards.
Wenke served as a shining example of strength and courage, returning to her schooling, and later to basketball, after being the victim of a vicious assault in her home last May. The recovery process was arduous, but her dedication to her academic and athletic pursuits were an inspiration.
Wenke’s life was saved by a Good Samaritan, the quick work of paramedics on the scene, and the doctors at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Center, where she remained on life support for 24 hours after the attack.
Wenke returned to her psychology studies at the University of Winnipeg, and rejoined the team in November to play the game she loves, while showing remarkable courage and determination along the way. Wenke appeared in her first game Dec. 1 and would appear in nine conference games and four playoff games averaging more than 15 minutes per game in that span.
Both Miller and Wenke will now be up for the national U SPORTS awards in their respective categories. Those awards will be announced during the nationals awards banquet in Regina, March 7.