PHILADELPHIA - Helping the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team claim a share of the Philadelphia Big 5 title, senior Natasha Cloud and juniors Ciara Andrews and Sarah Fairbanks have been recognized for their play in the City Series. Cloud and Andrews were both named to the All-Big 5 First Team, while Fairbanks repeats as the Most Improved Player and finished as the leading free throw shooter.
One of the top players in SJU history, Cloud becomes just the ninth Hawk in team history to earn All-Big 5 honors three times. Currently 11th in the nation in assists per game (6.6), the 6-foot guard averaged a career-best 12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this year. Named a Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List Finalist and selected to the Naismith Trophy Watch List, Cloud led the team in assists, steals (53) and minutes played (1,126), while finishing as the team's top scorer in 11 game and top rebounder in six contests. A three-time Big 5 Player of the Week, the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team and A-10 All-Defensive Team honoree caps her career third all-time in SJU history in assists (582), ninth in steals (174), 16th in rebounds (535) and 20th in scoring (1049).
Averaging a team-best 13.0 points per game, Andrews enjoyed a breakout season as a junior. Making 28 starts and appearing in all 30 games, she posted career-highs in rebounds (98) and assists (48), while averaging 32.6 minutes per game. The streaky shooting guard averaged 22.0 points per game in the final week of the season en route to earning Big 5 Player of the Week honors, and finished the year scoring in double figures 20 times.
The first woman to repeat as Most Improved Player, Fairbanks excelled in City Series play this year, averaging 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per Big 5 contest. On the season, the starting forward led SJU in boards seven times and finished the year as the team leader in rebounds (6.1 rpg), while adding 10.7 points, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 assists per game. Shooting 84.9 percent from the foul line, Fairbanks joins last year's winner, Erin Shields '14, as the only two Hawks to have earned the free throw shooting honor.
As a team, Saint Joseph's posted a 3-1 mark in the Big 5 this year to earn a share of the title alongside Penn and Villanova. This season marks the sixth time the Hawks have earned a share of the City Series title and 17th time overall they have been crowned Big 5 champs.
The Hawks will be honored as part of the annual Big 5 postseason banquet on April 13 at The Palestra. Tickets for the Big 5 Banquet are $50 each can be reserved by contacting Steve Crider at 814-935-5015 or at email@example.com.