April 14, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Junior Nicole Elmblad (St. Ignace, Mich./La Salle) was named the Most Valuable Player to highlight nine awards given out as the University of Michigan women's basketball team celebrated and reflected on the 2013-14 season at its awards banquet on Monday night (April 14) at the Junge Family Champions Center.
Elmblad was also given the Diane Dietz Michigan Way Award, which is given to honor the student-athlete who best embodies the values and work ethic of a Michigan women's basketball player. Elmblad, who picked up All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and media, averaged 11.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in 36.1 minutes per game this season. She led Michigan in minutes played (1,229) and steals (45), while ranking second in assists (103) and rebounds (257). Elmblad scored in double figures in 22 times and recorded seven double-doubles. She joined Dietz as the only Wolverines in school history to earn Academic All-America honors, earning second-team honors this past season. She also earned All-Big Ten honorable mention by the media.
Freshman Siera Thompson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) was awarded the Unsung Hero Award, given to the player whose contributions might not always appear in a box score but are invaluable to the team. Thompson appeared in all 34 games, averaging 13.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 36.0 minutes per game. She hit 75 three-pointers on the year, setting a new Michigan freshman record and ranking third on the single-season list. Thompson was one of two players nationally to hit at least one three-pointer in every game this season. She was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week (Jan. 19) and earned All-Big Ten honorable mention by both the coaches and media.
Junior Cyesha Goree (Grand Rapids, Mich./Wyoming Park) picked up two awards on the evening, winning the Leaders and Best Award, given to the player who accumulated the most practice points in categories established by the coaching staff -- and the Heart and Hustle Award for receiving the most stickers for the number of charges taken and loose balls recovered during games. Goree, who played just 33 minutes in her career before this season, averaged 12.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game en route to setting the Michigan season record for rebounds (317). She totaled 13 double-doubles on the year and was named to the All-Big Ten second team by both the coaches and media.
Senior Val Driscoll (Stoughton, Mass./Archbishop William) was the recipient of the "Own the M" Award, which was given to the players who bought into the program's 2013-14 theme of "Own the M" and have come the furthest in embracing the culture of Michigan women's basketball. Driscoll started 29 games in 2013-14, averaging 5.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. She had at least two blocks in 21 games this season, including six against No. 15 LSU (Nov. 30) and seven against Alcorn State (Dec. 28). She scored a career-high 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting against Iowa on Senior Day (Feb. 22).
Junior Shannon Smith (Gastonia, N.C./Forestview [Trinity Valley CC]) was given the Samantha Provenzano Perseverance Award, given to the player who overcame adversity to contribute to the team's success. Smith missed two games during the non-conference season due to injury, appearing in 32 total games. She averaged a team-best 13.8 points per game and led the team with 118 assists. She recorded the program's first point-assist double-double since Dec. 28, 2001, with 13 points and a school-record 13 assists against Stony Brook in the WNIT opener (March 21). She earned All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and media.
Fifth-year senior forward Kendra Seto (Oshawa, Ont./Eastdale CVI [Vermont]) was chosen as the Academic Excellence honoree, given to the player who achieved on the court and in the classroom. It is given to a graduating student-athlete who plans on pursuing a graduate degree. Seto appeared in 18 games, starting twice this past season.
Sophomore guard Madison Ristovski (Sterling Heights, Mich./Liggett) was named the Most Improved Player after averaging 8.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25.7 minutes per game. She led the Big Ten and set a Michigan season record after shooting 46.6 percent (54-for-116) from three-point range. Ristovski set career highs in every statistical category this season, including points (23), rebounds (11), assists (9), three-point field goals (5) and minutes (39). As a freshman last season, Ristovski averaged just 2.3 points and 0.9 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game.
The Wolverines went 20-14 in 2013-14, recording just the sixth 20-win season in program history. It was U-M's third straight 20-win campaign, the longest streak in program history. Michigan set program records for points (2,351), rebounding margin (+8.1) and three-point field goal percentage (.383). Head coach Kim Barnes Arico became the only coach in program history to record back-to-back 20-win seasons and is the only coach in program history to win at least 40 games in his or her first two years in Ann Arbor. Michigan participated in postseason play for the sixth straight season, making the third round of the WNIT.
Contact: Sarah VanMetre