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Carpenter named OUA East Player of the Year

BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW [email protected] All season, Cassandra Carpenter carried a heavy load for the Laurentian University womens' basketball team, and time and time again she delivered with awe-inspiring performances.
BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW

All season, Cassandra Carpenter carried a heavy load for the Laurentian University womens' basketball team, and time and time again she delivered with awe-inspiring performances.

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CASSANDRA CARPENTER
Carpenter was recently named the Ontario University Athletic (OUA) East Player of the Year for her outstanding season, which saw her dismantle the all-time OUA single season points record (only to lose it a few nights later to a Brock player), score an average of 19.41 points-per-game (second in the OUA, fifth in Canada) and grab an average of 10.45 rebounds per game (first in the OUA, second in Canada).

Consistency has become synonymous with Carpenter's game.

"Cassandra was remarkably consistent all year in every game," said head coach Mike Clarke. "We played 31 straight games where she has been in
double-scoring figures in each game, which is very tough to do at any level. She improved a lot, and not only in stats because she became a more multi-faceted player. She has expanded her game. This year, Cassandra played inside a lot, and her maturity level improved."

Carpenter also managed 17 double-double (points and rebounds) games this season, another remarkable achievement for a five-foot-eleven forward.

Carpenter felt exhilarated at being chosen for the two major awards, but is quick to point out that none of the recognition would have been possible without the help from everyone in her life.

"It feels great and it means a lot because there are so many great players in the OUA, especially on our team," said Carpenter. "There's 13 players
on Laurentian that could easily play on any other team in the OUA, and without them, my coaches, and support from family and friends, I wouldn't have been able to do it. My teammates are amazing. They push me in practice and never allow you to let up, even a bit. Having them there, day in and day out, has made me a better player and person. In some areas, I exceeded what I thought I could do."

Even though she's now considered one of the top female basketball players in the country, if not the best second-year player in Canada, Carpenter feels she has room to grow and become even better.

"There's always room for improvement," said Carpenter. "There's never a time to let up because as soon as you do that, everybody else catches up to you."

Clarke also sees even bigger and better things to come from Carpenter, which is only bad news for the rest of the OUA.

"It's scary for the opposition that she can get better," said Clarke. "Cassandra's potentially an awesome shooter, but she needs to work on her technique. It's exciting as a coach because you don't get somebody with her type of potential very often. Anything you give Cassandra, skill wise to master, she picks up right away."

Even though her season is done - the Lady Vees lost in the OUA east final to Ottawa - Carpenter has her eyes already set on next season. She will be the focal point of the squad because five veterans, Brianne Henry, Tierney Hoo, Caitlin Blackadder, Kate Walker and Symone Wilson, will graduate.

"Being the focal point is a challenge I am looking for," said Carpenter. "At the same time, it's sad because five great players are leaving. They have
been such a big part of this team for the last five years, and over the last two years I have been playing."



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