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October 29, 2020

Post Season Honors for Lady Catamount Basketball Players

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Western Carolina women’s basketball had three players honored with Southern Conference postseason awards with Andrea Martin Ruiz being named to the coaches and media’s All-Freshman team while fellow rookie Alyssa Walker was also placed on the Coaches All-Freshman Team. Sophomore Jewel Smalls was a selection on the Media’s All-SoCon Third Team.

It marks the first time since 2005 three or more Catamounts have been honored with postseason all-conference awards.

Selections include the coaches’ all-conference teams and specialty awards in addition to the Southern Conference Sports Media Association all-conference teams and awards.

Martin Ruiz and Walker’s placement on the SoCon All-Freshman team is a historical event for Western Carolina women’s basketball. It is the first time in the program’s history that two players have been named to the all-freshman team in the same year.

Martin Ruiz, a guard from Granada, Spain, is averaging eight points and 3.7 assists per game. She has scored in double figures in her last three games and five of her last six. She notched her first career double-double on Feb. 27 against Mercer with 14 points and a career-high 12 assists. It marked the first time in recorded program history a Catamount women’s basketball player had a double-double in points and assists. She has scored in double figures in 12 games on the season and is averaging 10.2 points per game in the conference only games.

Walker, a forward/guard from Maryville, Tenn., has started 19 games and played in all 29 games. She is averaging 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. She has scored in double figures three times with a career-high 14 against UNC Asheville. Walker is shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three-point range. It was Walker’s three-pointer at the end of the game at Chattanooga that sealed the win for the Catamounts Feb. 8 marking the first Western Carolina win at Chattanooga since 2009 and snapping a 21-game losing streak to the Mocs.

Smalls, a guard from Roswell, Ga., makes her second-straight appearance on the Media’s All-SoCon Third Team. It marks the first time a Catamount women’s basketball player has been named all-conference in back-to-back seasons since Jennifer Gardner in 2002-03 and 2003-04. Smalls leads the team averaging 12.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. She has scored in double figures 18 times this season and has recorded 12 double-doubles – the most by a Catamount in a season based on available records. Smalls has 278 rebounds on the season ranking fifth in the WCU record books for most rebounds in a season. She has the most rebounds by a Catamount since the 2006-07 season when Chevon Keith ripped down 282 – a mark Smalls is now chasing to take over fourth.

Western Carolina begins play in the Ingles Southern Conference Championship presented by General Shale at 11 a.m. Thursday as the No. 8 seed and will face No. 1 seed Samford in the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, N.C. Fans can watch the game on ESPN+ and listen to the game online at catamountsports.com via the Catamount Sports Network with Daniel Hooker and Jeff Bryson on the call.

Tickets are available through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center, online at catamountsports.com or by phone at 800-34-GOWCU.

Coaches All-Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Teams
Player of the Year
Nadine Soliman, Sr., G, UNCG
Freshman of the Year
Lilly Hatton, F, Wofford
Defensive Player of the Year
Shannon Titus, Jr., G/F, Mercer
Coach of the Year
Trina Patterson, UNCG
Ann Lashley Inspiration Award Winner
Lakelyn Bouldin, Sr., G, Chattanooga
First team
Jaron Dougherty, Mercer
Nadine Soliman, UNCG
Natalie Armstrong, Samford
Sarah Myers, Samford
Chloe Wanink, Wofford
Second team
Le’Jzae Davidson, Furman
Tierra Hodges, Furman
Shannon Titus, Mercer
Te’ja Twitty, UNCG
Da’Ja Green, Wofford
All-defensive Team
Tijuana Kimbro, ETSU
Shannon Titus, Mercer
Shauntai Battle, Samford
NaKeia Burks, Chattanooga
Cairo Booker, Wofford
All-freshman team
Lindsey Taylor, Furman
Jill Harris, Mercer
Dena Jarrells, Chattanooga
Andrea Martin Ruiz, Western Carolina
Alyssa Walker, Western Carolina
Lilly Hatton, Wofford

SoCon Sports Media Association (SCSMA) All-Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Teams
Player of the Year
Nadine Soliman, Sr., G, UNCG
Freshman of the Year
Lilly Hatton, F, Wofford
Coach of the Year
Trina Patterson, UNCG
Carley Kuhns, Samford
First team
Tierra Hodges, Furman
Nadine Soliman, UNCG
Natalie Armstrong, Samford
Sarah Myers, Samford
Chloe Wanink, Wofford
Second team
Micah Scheetz, ETSU
Le’Jzae Davidson, Furman
Shannon Titus, Mercer
Jaron Dougherty, Mercer
Te’ja Twitty, UNCG

Third team
Charity Brown, Samford
Lakelyn Bouldin, Chattanooga
Bria Dial, Chattanooga
Jewel Smalls, Western Carolina
Da’Ja Green, Wofford
All-freshman team
Lindsey Taylor, Furman
Jill Harris, Mercer
Dena Jarrells, Chattanooga
Andrea Martin Ruiz, Western Carolina
Lilly Hatton, Wofford

Denise Gideon
Director of Media Relations/Social Media
Western Carolina University

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