Women's Basketball Hands Out Yearly Awards at Team Banquet

Senior Picture #1

Senior Picture #2

PHILADELPHIA - In the final gathering between the members of the 2009-10 Penn women's basketball team, the coaching staff, alumni and their families came together for the annual year-end banquet Saturday in Weightman Hall.

Senior Sarah Bucar won multiple awards on the night, claiming the prestigious Harshberger-Johnson-Brendel (HJB) Prize for Sportsmanship, Loyalty and Leadership as well as the Team MVP award. The HJB, created by Penn alumna and former player Cynthia Warner Johnson Crowley CW’52, honors the strong tradition of more than 80 years of women’s varsity basketball at Penn. Bucar was a two-time team captain and led the women's basketball teamin points, assists, steals, threesand minutes played during the2009-10 season.

For her efforts as the consummate team player throughout the campaign, senior Caitlin Slover was honored with the Epton-Tarr Award. Slover was injured throughout the season, but finished seventh in the Ivy League in minutes played. She led the team in made free throws and was second on the team in made threes and assists. Slover was also voted as Best Defender as she finished 10th in the Ivy League in steals.

Sophomore Jess Knapp won the Heart and Hustle Award. Coming off a season-long injury that forced her to miss her entire freshman campaign, Knapp started 25 games, was second on the team in scoring and led the Quakers in rebounding.

The final two awards also went to underclassmen. Sophomore Jourdan Banks won the honor of Best Teammate. Banks also missed all of last season due to injury only to return to play in 24 games this season. She led the Quakers in scoring in two games and in rebounding twice. Freshman Brianna Bradford was the recipient of the Most Improved award. Bradford had just two points in her first 14 games, playing a total of 47 minutes. However, in the team's last four games she averaged more than 18 minutes per game. In that time, she averaged 7.0 points per game and earned Ivy League and Big 5 Honor Roll recognition for the week of February 21-27.

Senior captains Sarah Bucar, Amy Donovan and Caitlin Slover were presented with jerseys to commemorate their time spent in the Red and Blue. The three teary-eyed seniors then each gave a speech to conclude the banquet. All three also wrote a senior tribute that was featured in the banquet program. Here are the tributes from each of the three graduating seniors:

#2 Sarah Bucar
As this phase of my life comes to an end; I can only pray that the next portion provides me with the friendships and experiences I’ve been blessed with these last four years. When I sat down to write this, hundreds of memories hit me all at once… morning workouts, pre and post-practice girl talk, seven hour bus rides (I’ll miss someday), warming up to 1990 country songs, breaking in new shoes, ice baths… and the list goes on. It has been an incredible journey. Through it all, it is safe to say that I have experienced every emotion under the sun; ranging from absolute thrill to pure frustration. The struggles that we have all faced along the way have made the victories so much sweeter. I promise you, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to thank my team and coaches for making my days as a Penn Quaker so special. It has been the ride of a lifetime because of each of you! I want to thank my brothers, Dave and Nate, for beating up on me when we were younger and showing me what tough love is all about. Thanks to my Grandma and Maureen for your unconditional love and support. And lastly, but most importantly, thank you to my Dad for giving me the world. You are my rock and my role model. You made every achievement more special than you’ll ever know by simply being there to experience it with me.

#33 Amy Donovan
Of course, logically I knew the day would come when my playing career would be over, but I truly can’t believe that our time here is coming to an end. It may sound cliché, but it seems like only yesterday I was having my first practice freshman year. First I’d like to thank my parents for always being there, and my sister, Anna, for being my rock and my number one fan. I’d also like to thank the other members of Penn’10 for making this ride a great one, we may not have reached our goal of an Ivy championship, but the bonds we forged in our time will last forever. Any time I hear “Thunder Road,” no matter where I am, you can bet that it will bring a smile to my face remembering our times together. Similarly, a thank you is owed to every member of the team. You are a special group and I look forward to reading about your successes in the future. Lastly I’d like to thank the coaching staff and particularly Coach McLaughlin for believing in me enough to give me an opportunity to return to the team. I don’t think I will be able to ever find the words to fully thank you for this gift you’ve given me.

#15 Caitlin Slover
As I sit here to write this, I still cannot believe that my basketball career has come to an end. I have been lucky enough to come to such a distinguished University and be surrounded by people who have cared so much about me in the past four years. I first want to thank my family (Mom, Dad, Jimmy, Grandmom and Pop-Pop and my aunts, uncles and cousins) for always being supportive throughout my career. Playing every game in front of you has meant so much to me. To the coaches, I couldn’t have asked for better people to be my coaches for my last year. You truly brought my love back for the game and I can’t thank you enough. Amy Graber, thanks for keeping me in one piece these last four years. To Amy and Sarah, I couldn’t have asked to graduate with two better friends or teammates. Lastly, to my teammates and alumnae, you really taught me what it has meant to have a “family away from home”. I will cherish the memories I have made with you on and off the court for a lifetime.

A complete list of the awards handed out Saturday evening:

2010 Team Awards:
2010 Harshberger-Johnson-Brendel Prize for Sportsmanship, Loyalty and Leadership in Basketball - Sarah Bucar
2010 Epton-Tarr Award - Caitlin Slover
Most Improved - Brianna Bradford
Best Teammate - Jourdan Banks
Best Defender - Caitlin Slover
Heart & Hustle Award - Jess Knapp
Team MVP - Sarah Bucar