Wilson Named Team MVP, Ward Earns Defensive Player of the Year at Team Banquet

Wilson Named Team MVP, Ward Earns Defensive Player of the Year at Team Banquet

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– Sophomore Charise Wilson was named the Team MVP for the second year in a row, and classmate Dominique Ward was named the Defensive Player of the Year at Rhode Island's year-end team banquet.

Held at Amalfi at the Village Inn, the women's basketball banquet honored several team members. Also recognized was Amy Latimer, who received the team's Outstanding Alumni Award. A two-year captain for the Rams during her career from 1984-88, Latimer has been the President of the famed TD Garden in Boston since 2012. She has worked for the world-renowned sports venue since it opened in 1995 and she oversees the areas of premium service, fan experience and overall revenue generation for the Garden, home to the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics.

A second team All-Atlantic 10 selection, Wilson was the second leading scorer in the league with 16.9 points per game. She set a program record with 82 3-point baskets, shattering the previous mark of 66 set by Lindsey O'Neil during the 2000-01 season. Wilson's 515 points was the fourth-highest single-season total in program history, and she finished the season with 999 career points.

Ward ranked fourth in the Atlantic 10 with 2.04 steals per game. Her ball pressure was a major reason the Rams averaged 8.7 steals per game, which led the Atlantic 10 during the regular season and ranked in the top 100 nationally.

The coaching staff handed out several other team awards. Here is the full list:

Team MVP – Charise Wilson

Defensive Player of the Year – Dominique Ward

Outstanding Alumni Award – Amy Latimer

Most Improved Player Award – Samantha Tabakman
Also the Atlantic 10's Most Improved Player of the Year, Tabakman set the program's single-season record with a .564 field goal percentage. She broke a 31-year-old mark of .543 set by Michele Washington during the 1984-85 season. With her .564 field-goal percentage, she finished her season ranked 18th nationally among all players. She also became the 10th player in team history to recorded 600 career rebounds and finished eighth on Rhode Island's all-time list with 638. Tabakman was fourth in Rhode Island history with a .485 career field goal percentage and third in team history with 132 blocked shots.

Rhody Hustle Award – Tayra Melendez

A three-year team captain, Melendez finished her career third all-time with 3,394 minutes played. She is one of six women to see more than 3,000 minutes of court time for the Rams. She also became the 20th woman in program history to record 1,000 career points and was the 11th player in team history to record 600 career rebounds. Melendez joined Naomi Graves (1978-82) as the only players in program history to record 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 150 blocked shots.

Scholar-Athlete of the Year – Laura Perez
A business major with a 3.93 grade-point average, Perez is a Dean's List student who has a 100 percent completion rate of all class assignments. With English as a second language, she uses all resources on campus to her advantage and is a diligent student who loves to keep learning.

Coach's Award – Brianna Thomas
A three-year team captain, Thomas was the consummate leader and "glue" player. A six-time Dean's List recipient, Thomas is a true scholar student-athlete, double majoring in elementary education and Spanish who tutors in Spanish through the Athletic Department tutor program. She also won the 2016 URI Black Scholar Althea Gibson Award for Athletic Achievement.

Sixth-Woman Award- Symone Bullard
Bullard gave the team scoring pop off the bench, scoring 15 or more points in three different games. She made 17 3-pointers as a senior after making five combined in her first three seasons. Bullard averaged 7.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 22 minutes per game and shot .484 from the floor, .500 from 3-point range and .700 from the free throw line in the final five minutes of games. She was most productive with the game on the line. 

The Rhody Award – Shane Donaldson
The team's Sports Information Director was honored for the behind-the-scenes support he provides for the program.