EMU's Tavelyn James Receives the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award

Honor awarded to the top player in the country 5-feet-8-inches and under

by Greg Steiner, Published March 05, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (EMUEagles.com) - Eastern Michigan University senior guard Tavelyn James (Detroit, Mich.-Mumford) was named the 2012 recipient of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, presented annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation's outstanding female collegian 5-feet-8-inches and under who has excelled both athletically and academically.

She joins Earl Boykins as the only student-athletes in school history to capture the prestigious award. The 5-foot-5 Boykins was awarded the 1998 award by a panel from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

The 5-foot-7 James is also the second Mid-American Conference women's basketball standout to take home the honor, joining Bowling Green State University's Paulette Backstrom who was the 1989 recipient.

James, Eastern Michigan's all-time leading scorer, is one of only 11 student-athletes in MAC history to reach 2,000 points. Holding records is nothing new to James, the university's record holder in more than a dozen different categories. She ranks third on the conference's career points list with 2,417, field-goals made (248) and three-pointers made (287). James is currently second in Division I women's basketball this season in points per game, averaging 24.5.

An eight-time MAC West Divisional Player of the Week honoree, James was a member of USA Basketball's women's team that competed in the 2011 Pan American Games.  She is the first MAC student-athlete to make that roster. The health administration major has been named first team All-MAC twice.

"Showing outstanding character and athletic ability, Tavelyn has demonstrated every quality that defines the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. "She has established herself as one of the greatest players of all-time in the Mid-American Conference with a remarkable number of records and a true leader for the Eastern Michigan program throughout her career."

The Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award is named in honor of James Naismith's daughter-in-law. A panel of representatives from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) selects the recipient. To earn the award, the recipient must demonstrate leadership, character, loyalty, all-around basketball ability and excellence in the classroom. 

James will be formally recognized during the WBCA Awards Show, which will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, April 2, in the Plaza Ballroom at the Sheraton Downtown Denver.  This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women's Final Four® in Denver.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame pays tribute to the game's inventor, Dr. James Naismith. Located in Springfield, Mass., "the Birthplace of Basketball," Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves men and women's basketball at every level -- professional, collegiate, scholastic, Olympic, international and wheelchair.

Past Pomeroy Naismith Award Recipients:
2011 - Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga University
2010 - Alexis Gray-Lawson, University of California, Berkeley
2009 - Renee Montgomery, University of Connecticut
2008 - Jolene Anderson, University of Wisconsin
2007 - Lindsey Harding, Duke University
2006 - Megan Duffy, University of Notre Dame
2005 - Tan White, Mississippi State University
2004 - Erika Valek, Purdue University
2003 - Kara Lawson, University of Tennessee
2002 - Sheila Lambert, Baylor University
2001 - Niele Ivey, University of Notre Dame
2000 - Helen Darling, Penn State University
1999 - Becky Hammond, Colorado State University
1998 - Angie Arnold, Johns Hopkins University
1997 - Jennifer Howard, North Carolina State University
1996 - Jennifer Rizzotti, University of Connecticut
1995 - Amy Dodrill, Johns Hopkins University
1994 - Nicole Levesque, Wake Forest University
1993 - Dena Evans, University of Virginia
1992 - Rosemary Kosiorek, West Virginia University
1991 - Shanya Evans, Providence College
1990 - Julie Dabrowski, University of New Hampshire
1989 - Paulette Backstrom, Bowling Green State University
1988 - Suzie McConnell, Penn State University
1987 - Rhonda Windham, University of Southern California
1986 - Kamie Etheridge, University of Texas
1985 - Maria Stack, Gonzaga University
1984 - Kim Mulkey, Louisiana Tech University

About the WBCA
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. The WBCA is pleased to join the women's sports community in commemorating the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which was passed by Congress on June 23, 1972, and provides females with equal opportunities in athletics in the U.S. For more information on the WBCA, please visit wbca.org.

Jim Streeter

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