Lady Senators earn 2011 Daktroniks-NAIA honors

JACKSON, Tenn. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced its 2011 Daktronics-NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Scholar Athletes on Tuesday, and the Auburn University at Montgomery women's basketball team had four of the 127 student-athletes recognized.

Seniors Haley McIntyre, Carlie Ainsworth and Rachel Cunningham, as well as junior Courtney Thacker were each honored by the NAIA for maintaining a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. The student-athlete must also have a junior academic status to qualify for the award.

"This is really a great reflection on the emphasis we put on developing the total person," head coach Dan Davis said. "I am very proud of these young ladies and the standard they set in being a complete student-athlete. They were starters are leaders for our team and played a lot of minutes, all while still balancing their academics at a high level."

McIntyre, a NAIA Scholar-Athlete during both the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, sports a 3.75 grade point average in graduate school, where she is pursuing a master's in business administration. On the court, the Selma, Ala., native, averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest, while starting all 30 games for the Lady Senators.

For the second consecutive season, Ainsworth was a recipient of the award after recording a 3.97 GPA as an exercise science major. The Montgomery native led the team in scoring, averaging 10.9 points per game, while also chipping in 5.2 rebounds per game. She also led the team in steals (49) and free throw percentage (.809).

Cunningham earned the academic honor after posting a 3.84 grade point average in elementary education. In 28 games this season, the Winchester, Tenn., native averaged 7.9 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game. She also led the team in field goal percentage with a mark of .468.

A nursing major from Crossville, Ala., Thacker sports a 3.56 GPA in the program. On the court, she averaged 8.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game for the year, while upping her average in both scoring and rebounding during conference play. She also ranked third on the team with 87 total field goals.

In addition to recognition by the NAIA, all four were also named to the Southern States Athletic Conference All-Academic team.

AUM finished tied for the second-most members on the team, trailing only Lubbock Christian University, which had five Scholar-Athletes. Campbellsville, Concordia (Calif.), Fresno Pacific, Georgetown, Northwest Oklahoma State, Saint Xavier (Ill.) and William Woods all had four recipients.