The Deseret News has been honoring the state's best girls basketball players for 18 years, dating back to 1995 when Timpview's Emily Freeze won the inaugural award. Of the 18 winners, all have gone on to play college basketball. This year's winner, Brittney Martin of Syracuse, is the first two-time winner of the award. Ten different high schools have had an athlete win the award. This list contains the winners from 1995 to 2012.
Game averages: 17.7 points, 3 rebounds
Read Emily's published article here.
It's not hard to find out what kind of a basketball player Megan Jensen of Davis is. You can even tell before the tip-off of a game she is playing in. All you have to do is look at her knees.
Covered with floor-burn scrapes, scabs, bruises and scars, Jensen's knees could very well be the worst looking in the state. They are knees that Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan would be proud of as they display the tenacity, aggressiveness and hustle Jensen plays every game with.That attitude is just one of the reasons why Jensen was selected as Ms. Basketball of 1996, presented by the Deseret News in recognition of the best all-around player in the state. Jensen becomes the second player to be awarded the honor, following in the footsteps of last year's inaugural winner Emily Freeze of Timpview.
The 5-foot-7 point guard claims that she got her fierce attitude through her "relaxing" hobby of playing soccer.
Read Megan's full article here.
If there was an award for most improved girls basketball player in Utah, Mountain View's Sarah Pratt would definitely be a leading candidate.
But as it is, she'll have to settle for the state's most prestigious individual award in girls hoops. Pratt, a senior who led the Bruins to their second-straight undefeated championship season, has been selected as this year's Deseret News Ms. Basketball.As a junior, Pratt was a role player who came off the bench to relieve Lori Henry, last season's 5A MVP, and Laurie Crocker, a first team all-stater. Standing at a lofty 6-foot-3, her biggest strength then was that, well, she stood 6-foot-3.
Read Sarah's full article here.
Just how good of a basketball player is Mountain View's Lisa Osguthorpe?
Let's see. She helped her team win three straight championships. She was last year's 5A MVP. And this year, she has been chosen as Ms. Basketball, an annual honor given by the Deseret News to the outstanding girls basketball player in the state.All those accomplishments, and yet, Osguthorpe rarely played to her full potential thanks to a recurring foot injury that's bothered her since 9th grade.
Read Lisa's full article here.
The praise, accolades and hype have been around for nearly two years now, and Erin Thorn has downplayed it all, preferring to talk about what her team and teammates have accomplished instead.
The Mountain View guard is widely recognized as one of the best high school players in the country, and she just completed a career that may never be duplicated again. To cap her outstanding career, Thorn has been selected as 1999's Ms. Basketball, an annual award given by the Deseret News to the most outstanding girls basketball player in the state.Thorn averaged just over 18 points and six assists per game in her senior year for a team that finished with a No. 8 national ranking in USA Today. While her numbers may not be eye-popping, the fact that she played an average of just 20 minutes per game make the stats more remarkable.
Read Erin's full article here.
It's funny how some things work out. Take the case of Lana Sitterud.
As the lone returning starter and only varsity-experienced player from Lone Peak's 1999 championship team, the only way the Knights were going to do well this year was for Sitterud to help her teammates have their own success.
Ironically, Sitterud's achievement at being the ultimate team player has led to her earning the highest individual honor in the state, being named as the Deseret News' Ms. Basketball for the 1999-2000 season.
Read Lana's full article here.
Danielle Cheesman is your typical teenage girl. She blushes easily, giggles a lot and loves to be with her friends.
She's a softie with a tendency to be silly. That is, until you hand a basketball to this year's Deseret News Ms. Basketball award winner.
"She really has a lot of fun at practice, to the point of sometimes I have to say 'OK, focus,' " said Mountain View coach Dave Houle, who's been watching Cheesman since sixth grade when she attended one of his summer camps. "Then, at game time, oh my gosh, she becomes an animal. She's all business."
Read Danielle's full article here.
Nancy Seljaas is the kind of person and basketball player you might not notice until it's too late.
She's quiet, polite and unassuming in and out of uniform. This year's Deseret News Ms. Basketball honoree responds to a challenge, disappointment or obstacle without tantrums or tirades.
Instead, she continues to go about her business, marshaling more energy and focusing more than before, and most of all, she doesn't get mad, she gets even.
Read Nancy's full article here.
It's hard not to notice Heather Hansen when you watch Mountain View High School girls basketball team.
It is also hard not to get her confused with her twin sister, Hollie.
The identical twins make up the state's most potent guard combination, having led the Bruins to their third state title in a row. In addition to a state championship trophy, the twins earned the two top awards in girls basketball this season. Heather Hansen earned the state's highest award as 2003 Ms. Basketball, while Hollie was voted the 4A MVP.
Read Heather's full article here.
Her coach likens her to a duck.
"Because you can never see what's going on in her mind," said Mountain View coach Dave Houle of Mallary Gillespie. "You know how ducks always look so calm, but underneath the water they're working furiously. That's the way she is. I just like what she's all about."
This year's Deseret Morning News Ms. Basketball and the future BYU Cougar is so well-liked by opposing teams and coaches, it's hard to believe she is also the focal point of their preparation.
Read Mallary's full article here.
When real life starts closing in on Vanessa Hutson, she takes her troubles to the basketball court.
"Basketball is my therapy," she said.
And over her four-year career, this senior point guard for Brighton High has needed a little break a time or two from the realities of life. As a freshman, she found out that her best friend and teammate, Jara Ludlow, had been killed in a car accident the same day her mother needed emergency eye surgery due to complications from diabetes.
Read Vanessa's full article here.
A little girl was asking Michelle Harrison for her autograph in the same gymnasium where, just a few minutes earlier, parents heckled the teenage basketball player any time she missed a shot or made a mistake.
While they yelled about her not looking much like an All-American, little girls were telling her they wanted to be like her someday.
That's what being a superstar is like. People look at you with envy and admiration and talk about you with compliments and criticism. You are constantly being measured, tested and scouted. If you are as good as they say you are, you aren't allowed to be mortal.
Read Michelle's full article here.
When Tasha Dickey was just a toddler, her mother took her down to the floor of the University of Arizona's basketball court and let her and her older sister run around.
"I told them, 'Run in Mama's footsteps!' " recalled Lisa Dickey, who played for the Wildcats. "She was 3 years old. I couldn't wait."
It was worth the wait for everyone as Tasha Dickey turned out to be one of the most exciting players to watch in Utah this season. She earned the 2006-07 Deseret Morning News Ms. Basketball award not just for her statistical success, but for her ability to improve those who share the sideline with her.
Read Tasha's full article here.
All three of Jill Jackson's daughters were talented tennis players, but years ago their coach once singled out the youngest one as something special.
"This one is going to be the best," she said of Jenteal Jackson's tennis potential. "But she just didn't have the love for it."
What that little girl had a love for instead was basketball. Her mother, however, wasn't thrilled about her daughter's desire to hit the hardwood.
Read Jenteal's full article here.
She was just a second-grader playing on a Junior Jazz team with third-, fourth- and fifth-graders when Roger Pyper first met Kim Parker. Even then, it was apparent she was something special.
"She grew up here (in Heber City)," said Pyper, the head coach for Wasatch High. "We knew what we had ... She is just a great athlete. You get players who are good at some things, but you get the whole package with Kim."
Parker's athletic abilities are just part of the reason she was named the Deseret News' 2009 Ms. Basketball. In addition to being a 3.99 student, Parker was the only returning starter on this year's defending state championship team. Her leadership skills and the way she brought out the best in her teammates set her apart from a very talented field of athletes.
Read Kimberly's full article here.
Lexi Eaton was born to be a basketball player.
The problem was, she didn't really feel like one until she was about 14 years old. "She started playing probably in the fifth or sixth grade," said her father, Alan Eaton. "But she really didn't like it. She was really into soccer. ... But we're a basketball family, so she couldn't really escape it."
It was her performance, and that of her Springville teammates, in the state tournament her freshman year that turned Eaton from a talented soccer player into this year's Ms. Basketball. In addition to leading the Red Devils to a 4A State title, the junior guard verbally accepted a scholarship offer from BYU and was named the 2010 Gatorade Player of the Year.
Read Lexi's full article here.
Brittney Martin's father chose to sign his 5-year-old up for basketball because she was tall.
And being an accomplished basketball player himself, Darrell Martin might have suspected she'd have some athletic ability. What Martin's parents couldn't foresee, however, was what the game would come to mean to that not-so-little girl.
"I don't even know how to explain it," said Natalie Martin of her daughter's passion for hoops. "She loves it. It's all she thinks about. She loves that we come and watch. She loves to learn. She just loves to play."
Read Brittney's full article here.
It would be easy for Brittney Martin to show off on the basketball court.
It would be understandable if the Syracuse senior tried to score every time she touched the ball.
It would be completely logical for an athlete with her talent to demand the ball because her skills are so impressive.
But as much as Martin's life has been shaped by basketball, she is not defined by her abilities or accomplishments. The first player to be named Deseret News Ms. Basketball twice in her prep career, Martin seemed born to be a basketball star.
Read Brittney's full article here.