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Duke Holds Annual Women’s Basketball Celebration On Thursday
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 04/23/2009
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Photo Courtesy: Max Turner
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DURHAM, N.C.The 2008-09 season officially came to a close on Thursday evening for the Duke University women’s basketball team as the Blue Devils held their annual celebration in Cameron Indoor Stadium. With approximately 350 people in attendance and emceed by Morgan Patrick, Duke gave out 10 awards.

 

Taking home two accolades on the evening were senior Chante Black, sophomore Karima Christmas, Jasmine Thomas and senior Abby Waner.

There were five statistical awards given out -- Best Rebounder, Best Free Throw Shooter, Making Plays, Assist Maker and M.M.O.C. (Meanest Mother on the Court).  Other awards that were presented were Player of the Year, Most Improved, Sixth Player, CNC Scholar-Athlete, Best Defender and CNC Ball Club Member of the Year.

A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Black took home the Best Rebounder and Player of the Year awards for the second consecutive year.  A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Black finished the year averaging 14.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals.  She grabbed 278 rebounds during her senior year, which ranks as the fourth-highest single-season total in school history.

In 2008-09, Black was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as she established Duke as one of the most dominating defenses in the nation.  The 6-5 center collected 10 double-doubles and became only the third player in ACC history to notch over 1,400 points, 900 rebounds and 250 blocked shots.  Black ranked 10th in the ACC in scoring, sixth in rebounding, ninth in field goal percentage (48.6), 15th in free throw percentage (72.5) and third in blocked shots.

In her four years at Duke, Black totaled 1,438 points to rank eighth, 995 rebounds to rank second, 261 blocks to rank second, 565 field goals made to rank eighth, 308 free throws made to rank seventh and 451 free throws attempted to rank eighth on the Duke charts.  Her 995 rebounds also placed 19th on the ACC career lists, while her 261 blocks was sixth.  Black is also a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and the State Farm All-America team, while also being named USBWA All-America, first team third team Associated Press All-America, All-ACC, All-ACC Defensive team, and a midseason candidate for the Naismith Award.

Waner, a product of Highlands Ranch, Colo., received the Assist Maker award for the second straight year to go along with the Best Free Throw Shooter award.   A product of Highlands Ranch, Colo., Waner concluded her collegiate career as one of the top three-point shooters in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) history.  A 5-11 guard, Waner registered 222 career treys over four years to rank 12th on the ACC charts and first in the Blue Devil history books.  She became the first Duke player and eighth ACC player to register 45 or more three-pointers in four consecutive years.

Her 691 career three-pointers attempted ranks seventh in ACC history and first at Duke.  Not only did Waner hit three-pointers, but she was a great all-around student-athlete as she became the fifth player in ACC history to notch over 1,400 points, 400 rebounds, 400 assists and 300 steals.  Waner was also a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection.

A two-time Naismith National Player of the Year candidate, Waner received the 2009 Robin Roberts/WBCA Broadcasting Scholarship and was a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award in 2009.  She is a three-time All-ACC Tournament first team selection.  As a senior, Waner averaged 9.7 points, 3.5 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 2.7 steals, while registering 55 three-pointers made.

Receiving the M.M.O.C. award was senior Carrem Gay, who started 28 of 33 games for the Blue Devils in 2008-09.  The  M.M.O.C. award, which is the Meanest Mother on the Court, represents the Blue Devil that does the dirty work, including assists, steals and leads the team in floor burns. A product of New York, N.Y., Gay averaged 6.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals.  She played her best basketball at the end of the season as she was named to the All-ACC Tournament first team, after registering 19 points and 10 rebounds in the ACC Championship game against Maryland.

For the ACC Tournament, Gay averaged 12.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals in three contests.  She notched double-digit scoring 10 contests on the year, including five out of her last nine games.  Gay also led Duke with 13 charges taken on the season and finished her career with a total of 31.

Thomas, who is from Fairfax, Va., earned the CNC Scholar-Athlete and the Making Plays awards.  A 5-9 point guard, Thomas registered an excellent year in 2008-09 as she averaged 10.2 points, 3.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals.  She started 28-of-30 contests, including the final 24 straight as a sophomore.  Over the final 16 games of the season, Thomas notched 10 games with double-figure scoring. 

She played some of her best basketball against the top competition as she notched 19 points in the regular-season finale against ninth-ranked North Carolina.  In that contest, Thomas hit the game-tying basket to send the contest into overtime with 20 seconds remaining.  Thomas ranked 11th in the ACC in assists and 30th in scoring for the year.

Thomas received ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III and All-ACC Academic Team honors during the season for her excellent work in the classroom and on the court.  She owns a grade-point average of 3.39 at Duke.

Redshirt junior Keturah Jackson was awarded the Best Defender award, after playing in 33 games and starting 16 of those.  She averaged 3.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 18.2 minutes a contest.  Jackson, who is from Columbia, S.C., is labeled as the best on-ball defender on the Blue Devil squad and was often matched up against one of the top scorers for the opposing teams during the year.  She registered a season-high eight points at seventh-ranked Maryland to go along with three rebounds and two assists, while hitting 2-of-2 from downtown.

Earning the Sixth Player of the Year and the Most Improved awards was Christmas.  A product of Houston, Texas, Christmas averaged 7.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.0 assists as she started two of 32 contests.  She came on strong at the end of the season averaging 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 assists, while hitting 50.0 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from downtown.

Christmas registered 18 points and seven rebounds in the season finale against ninth-ranked North Carolina, had 14 points and nine rebounds versus third-ranked Stanford, while concluding the season with her first career double-double against Michigan State with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Carolyn Choudhury claimed the final award on the night as she was presented with the CNC Ball Club Member of the Year.  Choudhury, who is from Durham, N.C., attended 11 of the 14 home games this season.

The Player of the Year, Most Improved, Sixth Player, Making Plays and Best Defender awards were voted on by team members and staff.
 
Duke said good-bye to three seniors on the night-- Black, Gay and Waner.  In 2008-09, Duke registered a 27-6 overall record while advancing to the NCAA Tournament second round.  The Blue Devils reached the 25-win mark for the 11th straight year, collected their 12th straight 10-win ACC season and finished ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press national rankings under the direction of Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie.

McCallie guided Duke to a 14-0 record at home in Cameron Indoor Stadium marking only the second time in school history the Blue Devils have gone undefeated at home.  Duke was also a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in school history and the third time out of the last four years.

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