HARRISONBURG, Va., April 11, 2012 -- The 2011-12 JMU women's basketball team awards have been announced and are as follows:
Most Valuable Player Award: Junior guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch). Hislop, a team captain and JMU's starting point guard, led the Dukes in scoring (14.8) and assists (3.5) and was an All-Colonial Athletic Association Second Team selection. She was also named to the Women's National Invitation Tournament All-Tournament Team after helping lead the Dukes to second-place in the 64-team tournament.
Most Improved Award: Sophomore guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby). Burkholder, who won the award for the second consecutive year, was named All-CAA Third Team in her first year as a starter. She ranked second on the team in scoring (11.5) after averaging only 1.3 points and playing only 179 minutes in her freshman season in 2010-11. Burkholder was also selected to the WNIT All-Tournament Team.
Attitude Award; Leadership Award: Redshirt senior forward Lauren Whitehurst (Chesapeake, Va./Indian River). Whitehurst, a team captain, set the JMU season record for blocked shots with 66 and was second on the team in rebounding (7.1). She also earned CAA All-Defensive Team honors and CAA All-Academic Honorable Mention.
Defense Award; Courage Award; Hustle Award: Junior forward Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby). Newman, the CAA Defensive Player of the Year, led JMU in rebounding (7.8), ranked second on the team in assists (2.7) and blocked shots (1.4) and third in steals (1.6).
Most Spirited and Unselfish Contribution Award: Senior center Rachel Connely (Tamaqua, Pa./Marian Catholic). Connely, who played in 18 games, won the honor for the fourth year in a row.
Newcomer Award: Freshman guard Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor). Giggetts was named to the CAA All Rookie Team and was runner-up for CAA Rookie of the Year. She set a JMU record for games played by a freshman (36) and earned a spot in the Dukes' starting lineup for the final six games of the season. Giggetts averaged 4.7 points and 4.9 rebounds a game.
JMU finished the season with a 29-8 record and won five of its last six games, all in the WNIT. The Dukes advanced to the WNIT title game against Oklahoma State after winning WNIT games against Davidson, Wake Forest, South Florida, Virginia and Syracuse. JMU lost 75-68 at Oklahoma State in the WNIT championship.