ACADEMIC ALL-STARS

Women’s basketball team nets national academic honors

By DENISE GIDEON

Western Carolina women’s basketball has been named to the 2012 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Academic Top 25 Honor Roll, ranking 13th in the nation with a combined team grade-point average of 3.406.

“We are very proud of our team for their hard work in the classroom,” said Head Coach Karen Middleton. “Each of our student-athletes is committed and motivated to performing at their very best in all aspects of their lives. We take pride in setting a high standard and representing Western Carolina on and off the court.”

This is the fifth time in Catamount women’s basketball history the team has earned a place on the WBCA Academic Top 25. In 2009, Western Carolina was ranked eighth, had its highest ranking with a fifth-place spot in 2008, and placed 15th in 2007 and sixth in 2001.

The Catamounts are the only Southern Conference member team to take a spot in the 2012 WBCA Academic Top 25. Western Carolina is one of just two teams from the Southeastern United States to be named to the honor roll, along with Florida Gulf Coast, which was ranked ninth.

Western Carolina continues to set the pace for this award among Southern Conference teams. The Catamounts are still the highest-placing conference team in the history of the WBCA Academic Top 25 and the only team to earn a spot on the list multiple times. Appalachian State was ranked 25th in 1999 and Chattanooga earned a 23rd ranking in 2000.

The WBCA Academic Top 25 annually recognizes NCAA Divisions I, II and III; NAIA; and junior/community college women’s basketball teams across the nation that carry the highest combined grade-point averages inclusive of all student-athletes on their rosters for the entire season. The 2011-12 season is the 17th in which the WBCA has produced the honor rolls.