Women’s Basketball News

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KINGSTON, ON (U SPORTS) – Winnipeg forward/center Keylyn Filewich was honoured with the Nan Copp Award as U SPORTS women’s basketball Player of the Year Wednesday night, as the national award winners were celebrated at the annual All-Canadian gala.

Past Award Winners

Cape Breton forward Kiyara Letlow captured the Kathy Shields Award as Rookie of the Year, while Ottawa forward Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu earned the Sylvia Sweeney Award for Student-Athlete Community Service for her outstanding contribution both on and off the court. Finally, Ryerson bench boss Carly Clarke took home the Peter Ennis Award as Fox 40 Coach of the Year.

Hosted by the Queens Gaels, tip-off on the 2022 U SPORTS Women’s Basketball Championship starts on Thursday and the event concludes Sunday with the gold medal game at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT. All games are to be played at the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC).

Livestreaming in English is available for free worldwide on CBCSports.caCBC Gem, the CBC Sports app and usports.ca and in French on usports.ca.

NAN COPP TROPHY (Player of the Year): Keylyn Filewich, Winnipeg

Keylyn Filewich was an instant game-changer for the Winnipeg Wesmen.

A graduate transfer who joined the Wesmen for her fifth year of eligibility, Filewich excelled statistically averaging 17.3 points, a career-high 10.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game on her way to being named a first-team Canada West all-star and back-to-back winner of the conference player of the year. She was fifth in the Canada West in points per game, fourth in rebounds per game, fourth in blocks per game, and fourth in field goal percentage (51.7), which marked the fifth straight season she's shot at least 50 per cent from the field.

And while much of the attention was on her presence on the offensive end and on the glass, Filewich was also a plus defender, finishing tied for fourth in blocks in the Canada West while her 34 steals were 11th in the conference and second among forwards. 

Filewich, who transferred from UBC in the summer of 2021 to pursue her Masters degree in Management, becomes the third Wesmen player to win the Nan Copp Award and first since JoAnne Wells in 2004-05.

"She has been a pleasure to coach. She's low-maintenance, hard-working and 100 per cent committed," Wesmen head coach Tanya McKay said. "Everyone that we've played has defended us from the inside out. They've swarmed her, doubled her, they've paid a lot of attention to her and she still put up numbers." 

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Nominees

  • CW: Keylyn Filewich, Winnipeg (Winner)
  • OUA: Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu, Ottawa
  • RSEQ: Amaiquen Siciliano, Bishop’s
  • AUS: Jayda Veinot, Acadia

KATHY SHIELDS AWARD (Rookie of the Year): Kiyara Letlow, Cape Breton

Kiyara Letlow of the Cape Breton Capers is the U SPORTS women's basketball rookie of the year for 2021-22. A six-foot-one forward from Toronto, Ontario, she started in all 15 games for the Capers this season.

A first-year arts student, Letlow immediately impacted both her team and the conference, averaging 15.7 rebounds per game—the most in the AUS and the country. In addition, she averaged 22.7 points per game, second only to league MVP Jayda Veinot in AUS and U SPORTS stats.

Along with being honoured as the conference's top rookie, Letlow was named a 2021-22 first-team all-star. She is the sixth player from the Capers to earn the rookie of the year honour, joining current teammate Hailey MacLeod (2019-20), Alison Keough (2013-14), Colleen Keane (2012-13), Amanda Fisher (1998-99) and Janice Moseychuck (1994-95).

Alison Keough is the only player from the Capers to ever win the national rookie of the year award.

“Kiyara has had an awe-inspiring performance on and off the court. An Academic All Canadian in the classroom, she has had the best first-year performance in the CBU Women's Basketball program history. Kiyara devours game film and constantly looks for ways to improve her game. Coming to practice with an incredible desire to improve makes her a joy to coach. She used her athleticism and passion to finish 2nd in U Sports in scoring, and she led the country in rebounding. Kiyara has a very promising future within our program.” 

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Nominees

  • CW: Jade Belmore, Regina
  • OUA: Madalyn Picton, Western
  • AUS: Kiyara Letlow, Cape Breton (Winner)
  • RSEQ: Victoria Gauna, Bishop’s

SYLVIA SWEENEY AWARD (Student-Athlete Community Service): Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu, Ottawa

Sylvia Sweeny Award winner, Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu, was named the OUA East MVP in addition to the OUA East Joy Bellinger Award, underlining her excellence on and off the court. These awards follow her selection as a U SPORTS Top 8 Academic All-Canadian for 2020-21.  

This season, the 6-foot-1 forward from Gatineau, Que. set a career-high with 16.4 points per game, which ranked first in the OUA East. She complimented that with a career-high 9.7 rebounds per game, ranking fifth in the entire OUA, and 1.8 steals per game, helping lead the Gee-Gees to a 10-4 regular-season record.  

She was previously an OUA Third Team All-Star in 2018-19 as the Gee-Gees captured OUA silver and U SPORTS bronze medals that year, and was a U SPORTS All-Rookie Team member in 2017-18. During the 2021-22 regular season she recorded her 1000th career regular-season point and her 500th career regular-season rebound - she is second in Gee-Gees team history for career scoring and third in career rebounds.   

Lefebvre-Okankwu has been a consistent performer academically as well as on the court, having been an Academic All-Canadian for her first four years at uOttawa. In 2020 she was the Valedictorian for the Faculty of Science as she received her Honours Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science and Minor in Psychology. Now pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Lefebvre-Okankwu has maintained a 10.0 term GPA for the last four consecutive terms. 

Another role Lefebvre-Okankwu has embraced is that of a powerful voice within the Ottawa community. She was a founding member of the Black Student-Athletes Advocacy Council at uOttawa and serves on the executive committee as secretary. She also maintains ties with a Gatineau community organization called Underdog-Mixtape which provides events and programming to uplift local athletes and artists, and travelled to Togo and Haiti with the Gee-Gees to help build basketball courts for community sports programs. 

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Nominees

  • CW: Libby Epoch, Saskatchewan
  • OUA: Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu, Ottawa (Winner)
  • RSEQ: Nelly Owusu, Concordia
  • AUS: Lauren Rainford, Prince Edward Island

PETER ENNIS AWARD (Fox 40 Coach of the Year): Carly Clarke, Ryerson

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In her 10th season with the Rams program, Carly Clarke took home her first Peter Ennis Award as U SPORTS Coach of the Year, doing so on the heels of a dominant showing in the competitive OUA East Division, leading the Rams to a 14-0 regular season.

In the OUA championship game, Ryerson overcame a 22-point deficit to capture their first Critelli Cup since 2016.

The Rams were dominant on the defensive end of the floor in 2021-22, allowing just 50.1 points per game, the lowest mark in Canada, while averaging 74.4 points per game offensively.

In her 10th season with the Rams program, Carly Clarke took home her first Peter Ennis Award as U SPORTS Coach of the Year, doing so on the heels of a dominant showing in the competitive OUA East Division.

The accolade is just the latest in what has been a triumphant stretch for Clarke, as she also served as the Canadian national senior women’s team assistant coach at the Tokyo Games this past summer. 

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Nominees

  • CW: Al Tuchscherer, Fraser Valley
  • OUA: Carly Clarke, Rams (Winner)
  • RSEQ: Tenicha Gittens, Condordia
  • AUS: Matt Gamblin, Prince Edward Island

OVERCOMING ADVERSITY AWARD (Tracey MacLeod Award): Myriam Leclerc, Concordia

Guard Myriam Leclerc, a fourth-year Accounting major from St. Roch de Richelieu, is the U SPORTS recipient of the Tracy MacLeod Award which recognizes courage in overcoming adversity.

The 2022 first-team all-star tore her ACL during the 2019-20 season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her surgery was pushed back multiple times and her recovery was delayed. She was relentless in her devotion to her rehabilitation and was determined to come back stronger than before.

“Myriam is once again one of the most dominant players in our conference and across the nation,” said Gittens. “It is a true testament to her work ethic, determination and perseverance.”

This season, she played all 12 games and averaged 6.3 rebounds and 16 points, which ranked third in the conference. She was first in the RSEQ in minutes played (35.6), steals (2.6) and free throws, sinking 47 of her 49 attempts. Her .959 free-throw percentage was good for first in the country.

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Nominees

  • CW: Kyanna Giles, Winnipeg
  • OUA: Nyamuoch Teny, Ryerson
  • RSEQ: Myriam Leclerc, Concordia (Winner)
  • AUS: Gabrielle Roche, Memorial

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Summer Masikewich, Saskatchewan

A dominating force on the defensive end, Summer Masikewich led the best defence in Canada West with her unique combination of length, quickness and anticipation skills. Masikewich finished second in the conference with 1.6 blocks per game, to go along with 1.2 steals per game this season. She also cleaned the glass all year, recording 9.6 rebounds per game — 6.0 defensive rebounds per game — good for fifth in the conference. Masikewich was named the Canada West Defensive Player of the Year in 2018-19 and 2021-2022.   

In her career as a Huskie, Masikewich has helped the team to two U SPORTS national championships and four Canada West championships. She had also been named a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian in 2019-2020 to go along with her three U SPORTS Championship Tournament All-Star team nods. 

“Summer has been the foundation of our defence for her entire career.  Her ability to switch screens, contain drives and help teammates all over the floor, has been a key reason why we were the top-rated defensive team in Canada West. Her combination of length, foot speed and personal pride in playing defence, has been an invaluable asset to our teams’ success,” said Huskies head coach Lisa Thomaidis. 

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Nominees

  • CW: Summer Masikewich, Saskatchewan (Winner)
  • OUA: Tatyanna Burke, Carleton
  • RSEQ: Jennifer Louis, Bishop’s
  • AUS: Carolina Del Santo, Prince Edward Island

ALL-CANADIAN & ALL-ROOKIE TEAMS

First Team All-Canadians
Pos. First Name Last Name School
G/F

Jayda

Veinot

Acadia

G

Amaiquen

Siciliano

Bishop's

G

Myriam

Leclerc

Concordia

F

Brigitte

Lefebvre-Okankwu

Ottawa

F

Keylyn

Filewich

Winnipeg

SECOND Team All-Canadians
Pos. First Name Last Name School
F

Kiyara

Letlow

Cape Breton

F

Samantha

Keltos

Brock 

G

Sarah

Gates

McMaster 

G

Mikaela

Dodig

Ryerson

F

Summer

Masikewich

Saskatchewan

ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
Pos. First Name Last Name School
F

Kiyara

Letlow

Cape Breton

G

Rebecka

Ekström

Memorial

F

Victoria

Gauna

Bishop's

G

Madalyn

Picton

Western

F

Jade

Belmore

Regina