Four-time All-American Elena Delle Donne of the University of Delaware has been selected as the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award® winner in NCAA® Division I women's basketball.
The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I women's basketball coaches, national basketball media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I women's basketball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, community, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
"It is a true honor to be the recipient of the Senior CLASS Award. I am a student-athlete who truly believes in the importance of an athlete's behaviors and actions both on and off of the court," Delle Donne said. "Throughout my career, I was constantly aware of the leadership position that comes along with being a student-athlete and strived to be a role model in the classroom, in the community and on the basketball court. It is important for all athletes to remember that their roles and responsibilities extend well beyond the courts and fields on which they compete."
A human services major with a 3.63 grade point average, Delle Donne has twice been named the recipient of the Capital One Academic All-America® of the Year award. Delle Donne is active in many team community service activities, including visits to A.I. duPont Children's Hospital and working with Delaware Special Olympics.
"Elena is an outstanding representative of the University of Delaware in so many ways that go beyond her athletic talents," coach Tina Martin said. "She has worked hard both on and off the court and has become a true leader of our team. I am proud that she is such an outstanding role model to so many young people and we are so happy to see her receive this prestigious honor."
Delle Donne, a four-time All-American and three-time Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year, led the Blue Hens to a 32-4 overall record this season with back-to-back CAA titles. She ranked second in the nation with 26 points per game and has scored 30 or more points in eight games this season. She holds CAA career records for points, field goals, free throws, and blocks and is the fifth leading scorer in NCAA history with 3,039 points.
"Elena has been a force to be reckoned with in women's basketball her entire career at Delaware," said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award. "But her selflessness and genuine capacity to treat everyone with respect and dignity off the court are what has made her stand out to college basketball fans across the country."
Layshia Clarendon, California
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame
Drey Mingo, Purdue
Chelsea Poppens, Iowa State
Brittany Chambers, Kansas State
Jacqui Kalin, Northern Iowa
Kevi Luper, Oral Roberts
Anna Martin, DePaul
Jaime Printy, Iowa
For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
(This story is a news release from the Senior CLASS Award.)