WOLFVILLE - An Acadia athlete is one of the eight U SPORTS nominees for the 2018 BLG Awards celebrating the U SPORTS Athletes of the Year.
Basketball player Paloma Anderson is one of four females nominated for the Jim Thompson Trophy. Also nominated are Calgary Dinos rugby player/wrestler Temitope Ogunjimi and volleyball players Theanna Vernon of the Ryerson Rams and Marie-Alex Bélanger of the Montréal Carabins.
The 2018 nominees for the Doug Mitchell Trophy presented to the U SPORTS Male Athlete of the year are Alberta Golden Bears football player Ed Ilnicki, Laurentian Voyageurs basketball player Kadre Gray, Concordia Stingers wrestler Francis Carter and UNB Varsity Reds basketball player Javon Masters.
The eight national nominees will be honoured June 4 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, B.C., as part of the 2018 U SPORTS conference and annual meeting.
As an unheralded transfer from the NCAA, Paloma Anderson joined the Axewomen in the fall of 2014 and left an unmistakable impact on AUS and U SPORTS women’s basketball.
In her final year of eligibility, the five-foot-one guard shattered several Acadia records, including most points in a career of 1,446 in only 73 games, as well as most career free throws and assist. The sociology major finished the season second in conference scoring and sixth nationally with 18.9 points per game, while also leading the conference in assists, steals and field goals as Acadia posted an 18-2 record.
For her effort, Anderson was named the AUS and U SPORTS Player of the Year, helping lead her Axewomen to a conference championship title and U SPORTS Final 8 appearance. Averaging 16.0 points in two AUS championship playoff games, the Phoenix, Arizona native also took home AUS championship tournament most valuable player.
This is Anderson’s second nomination for the BLG Award. Her first nomination came after her first complete season with the Axewomen in 2015-2016, when she was also named AUS Player of the Year. She is also a three-time U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian and three-time AUS All-Star.
“The best part about basketball is not the awards or championships, it’s the relationships you build along the way. I have met so many people that have impacted my life because of basketball. I have learned that it is not all about being the MVP, rather it’s about being the best teammate on your best or worst games,” Anderson said.
“One of my most memorable experiences of the BLG Awards I attended in 2016 was being surrounded by the best athletes that Canada has to offer - national players of the year within their respective sports, including Olympians, is a humbling atmosphere.”
Acadia women’s basketball head coach Len Harvey says Anderson’s personal growth since her last nomination two years ago “has been impressive.”
“She has always been an exceptional talent on the basketball court, but she needed to learn how to control and harness her athleticism and expand her fundamental skillset to develop past the level where she currently was,” Harvey said. “Paloma has revolutionized her game, becoming more efficient offensively, more focused defensively, and sharing the ball with her teammates in ways to allow them to develop and shine as well.”