DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire women's basketball program celebrated its success during the 2005-06 season and passed out team awards at the annual banquet, held Friday night, May 5, at The Oak Room in Huddleston Hall.
Junior forward Danielle Clark (Corinna, Maine) was named the team's Most Valuable Player after leading the Wildcats in scoring (15.1 ppg), total rebounds (172), three-point field goal percentage (.395), and free throw percentage (.837). Clark, presently the UNH record holder for career free throw percentage (.813), adds this honor to her previous awards of Second Team All-Conference, First Team Academic All-District, and MVP of the Lehigh Christmas City Classic.
After more than doubling her scoring and rebounding average from the previous season, sophomore guard Ashley Cerniglia (Pittsford, N.Y.) earned the team's Most Improved Player award. Before her season ended with a knee injury, Cerniglia started 24 games, averaging 7.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and hit 42 three-pointers, the seventh most by a UNH player in a single season.
The votes of the coaching staff and players resulted in two Defensive Players of the Year. Senior guard Ebony Woods (Philadelphia, Pa.) finished her UNH career tied for 18th in school history for career steals with 120 thefts. On December 30 against Lehigh, she scored ten points, including two free throws at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime, and made two key defensive plays in the final minute of the second half to help the Wildcats win the Lehigh Christmas City Classic.
One of the toughest defenders in America East, junior Whitney Edwards (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) averaged 7.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.25 assists, and 2.0 steals per game this past season. Named the team's top defensive player for the second consecutive season, Edwards was named to the America East All-Defensive Team as well as to the All-Tournament Team at the Lehigh Christmas City Classic after scoring a career-high 19 points in the title game.
Senior co-captain Emily Hardy (Westbrook, Conn.) earned the Coaches Award from Head Coach Sue Johnson and her staff. Hardy, the tenth player in UNH history to be named captain in back-to-back seasons, accepted a shift from point guard to shooting guard at times this season and helped the team to its second consecutive winning season. Hardy finishes her career in tenth place on the UNH all-time made three-pointers list with 73 career trifectas.
Johnson also announced at the banquet that Clark and Edwards were elected captains for the 2006-07 season. The Wildcats will feature nine returning letterwinners and six incoming freshmen next season, losing Woods, Hardy, and Lindsay Adams (Theresa, N.Y.) to graduation.