Westminster basketball: Blake named first team All-American, Pappas honorable mention

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, March 26 2014 6:20 p.m. MDT

Tia Pappas looks to pass. She was named honorable mention All-American and won the NAIA Division I Womens Basketball National Championship Hustle Award on Wednesday.

Frankfort Convention Center

Two members of the Westminster College women’s basketball team received postseason recognition from the NAIA on Wednesday. Alli Blake was selected as a first team All-American while Tia Pappas was named honorable mention and the recipient of the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship Hustle Award, the national office announced.

Blake becomes just the second player in school history to be named to the first team by the NAIA. The senior from Kaysville, Utah, helped the Griffins to a 26-3 overall record and a second-straight trip to the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship. She led the team in scoring at 15.4 points per game and was sixth in the country by shooting 54.9 percent from the field.

Blake joins Rebekah Steenblik (2006) as the only first team All-Americans in school history. She becomes the sixth player from Westminster to make any of the three All-American teams. Earlier this month, Blake was named the Frontier Conference Player of the Year.

Pappas received honorable mention All-American honors as the junior from Price, Utah, averaged 11.6 points per game this season. Pappas is the seventh Griffin to be named honorable mention All-American. She ranks 27th in the NAIA with an average of 2.37 steals per game. Pappas was selected as the Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the Year earlier this month.

Pappas was also selected for the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship Hustle Award for her performance during the team’s three games at the event. She becomes the first Westminster player to take home a National Championship individual award.

Players were selected by the NAIA-Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association All-America Committee, with each team — first, second and third — consisting of 11 members.

Vanguard senior point guard Nicole Ballestero, an Orange, Calif., native, was selected as the 2014 NAIA National Player of the Year. Ballestero is the fifth Lion to earn the honor since the award’s inception in 1998, the most of any program.

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