NU's Smith WSF Sportswoman of the Year Finalist

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Rising Northwestern lacrosse senior Shannon Smith (West Babylon, N.Y./West Babylon) has been selected by the Women's Sports Foundation as one of 10 female candidates from all sports and from around the globe for the organization's Sportswoman of the Year honor.

Each year, the Women's Sports Foundation -- founded in 1974 by tennis legend Billie Jean King -- recognizes an individual sport athlete and team sport athlete whose performances over a 12-month time span have been exceptional. Past winners include Venus and Serena Williams, Nastia Liukin, Jessica Mendoza and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

For the first time, voting for the award is being conducted partially through an online vote hosted by Facebook. To cast a vote for Smith, fans can visit Facebook.com/WomensSportsFoundation, browse the photo albums for Team Sport Athlete finalists and simply "like" the photo of their choice. Fans are permitted one vote in each album, team and individual. Those who do not utilize Facebook can review nominees' bios at www.WomensSportsFoundation.org and e-mail with their votes.

Winners will be determined by a combination of the public vote (50 percent) and the Women's Sports Foundation's Awards Committee's vote (50 percent). The winners will be the two athletes -- one individual finalist and one team finalist -- who receive the highest combined share of the public vote and the Awards Committee's vote.

The top three finalists in each of the categories will be invited to attend the Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards Gala, where the Sportswoman of the Year Award recipients will be announced and honored.

Among the nominees in Smith's team sport category are USA women's soccer standout Abby Wambach and WNBA superstar Maya Moore, along with: Luciana Aymar (Argentina, field hockey), Annika Dries (USA, water polo), Meghan Duggan (USA, ice hockey), Juliana Felisberta/Larissa Franca (Brazil, beach volleyball), Sandra Kiriasis (Germany, bobsled), Anette Norberg (Sweden, curling) and Stacy Sykora (USA, volleyball).

After leading Division I women's lacrosse in points from wire to wire in the regular season, Smith raised her game to another level in the postseason as she willed Northwestern to a seventh-straight ALC championship and eventually its sixth NCAA championship in seven years. She scored at least four goals in all six postseason games for NU -- including five in each of the first four -- and came up with the game-winning goals in an 11-10 semifinal win over North Carolina as well as in a thrilling 8-7 victory over No. 1 Maryland for the national title.

Her 18 goals during the NCAA tournament -- second-most all-time for one player in the national tournament -- netted her NCAA Championship MVP honors and allowed her to break the Northwestern single-season goals record with 86. Her 128 points on the year rank as the second-best total ever by a Wildcat and seventh-best in Division I women's lacrosse history.

Winner of the Tewaaraton Award and Lacrosse Honda Sports Award, Smith also took home the Suzy Favor Award as Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year for 2010-11.

The Women's Sports Foundation is dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity, providing scholarships and grants to aspiring athletes. The group funds groundbreaking research and public awareness campaigns, organizing programs in cities across the country.

2011-09-01



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