Ceejay Nofuente became the first league sport student-athlete in CCAA history to be named the national player of the year three times.
SACKVILLE, NB -- Just four years removed from a significant knee injury that threatened her playing career, Ceejay Nofuente cemented her legacy as one of the game's all-time greats after being named the CCAA Women's Basketball Player of the Year for the third straight season.
"It's always humbling anytime you win an award," Nofuente said of the honour. "It speaks volumes about our program, my teammates, and coaches. This award wouldn't be possible without them, and I hope everyone knows that."
As a highly touted recruit from Downsview Secondary School in Toronto, Nofuente transferred from Ryerson to play basketball for Humber head coach Ajay Sharma, not knowing how that decision would shape her historic career.
"I'm extremely proud of Ceejay," said Humber head coach Ajay Sharma. "Everyone sees what she can do on the court, but it's her behind-the-scenes effort that makes her truly special."
For four years Nofuente and the Hawks have wreaked havoc on the OCAA, culminating in four straight provincial titles and an 89-0 record with Nofuente in the lineup.
Of the 128 league sport awards handed out in the CCAA since 1997, no player has won the award three times, and only two others (Claudia Houle – women's volleyball 2002-03; Joey Martins – men's volleyball 2005-06) have won in consecutive years.
At the conclusion of the regular season, Nofuente had set the OCAA record for assists (140) and steals (149) for the third straight year. She finished with 78 more steals than any player in the country.
A five-foot-eight point guard, Nofuente established a new program record with 27 blocked shots this season, the third-highest total in the league.
Other finalists for the award were: Rachel Beauchamp (Douglas), Kennedy Werre (Medicine Hat), Keirsten Mangold (Mount Allison), and Roxane Makolo-Mualuja (Dawson).
Nofuente and the rest of the Hawks will now turn their full attention to winning the programs third straight national medal, beginning with their quarter-final showdown against the MSVU Mystics (19-2, ACAA) on Thursday, March 15. Tip-off is scheduled for noon EST/1 p.m. ADT.