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Penny, Verdun Named BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award Winners



July 8, 2014

CHICAGO – The BIG EAST Conference has announced the 21 winners of the 2013-14 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards, which recognize academic and athletic achievement as well as community service. DePaul’s Jasmine Penny and Kirsten Verdun were recognized as the top scholar-athletes for women’s basketball and softball.

The Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards are given to one student-athlete in each BIG EAST-sponsored sport based on academic credentials, athletic accolades or performances and volunteer service to the community. Student-athletes who have attained junior academic standing and a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 are eligible. The winners are chosen by the BIG EAST Faculty Athletics Representative Council.

Penny was a unanimous first team All-BIG EAST honoree and the Most Outstanding Player of the BIG EAST Tournament. She was also a WBCA All-America Honorable Mention after averaging 15.8 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting .580 from the field.

Verdun was dominant in the circle and at the plate en route to second team NFCA All-American honors along with BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. She also earned Capital One Academic All-American recognition and led DePaul to its second BIG EAST Tournament title. Verdun posted a record of 33-7 with an earned run average of 1.76 while hitting .348 with 11 doubles and seven home runs.

The list of honorees all enjoyed banner seasons in 2013-14, with seven collecting All-America certificates, 12 competing in the national postseason at the NCAAs in their respective sports and four earning CoSIDA Academic All-America nods. Twenty of the 21 Sport Excellence Award winners earned All-BIG EAST honors, while 13 were members of BIG EAST Championship-winning squads. Five BIG EAST Players of the Year were among those recognized, as well as nine who were either individual champions or voted as the top performers at their respective league championships.

Led by two-sport honoree Samuel Ellison, Villanova collected a BIG EAST-best four certificates. Georgetown, Marquette and St. John’s each had three award winners followed by DePaul, Providence and Seton Hall with two honorees.