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Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

2010 WOMAN OF THE YEAR IN SPORTS: Daesha Henderson

A top athlete, excellent student, and now The Herald's 2010 Woman of the Year in Sports

  • Seattle Pacific University's Daesha Henderson (right) drives to the basket n a 2010 game. Henderson, who also starred at Snohomish High School, is The...

    J. Andrew Towell Photo

    Seattle Pacific University's Daesha Henderson (right) drives to the basket n a 2010 game. Henderson, who also starred at Snohomish High School, is The Herald's Woman of the Year.

If the 2009-10 basketball season turns out to be the end of Daesha Henderson's competitive career, she will have saved the best for last.
Henderson, a 2006 graduate of Snohomish High School, went on to play four seasons at Seattle Pacific University, where she became one of the top players in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). And her final season was the best of all, as Henderson not only helped the Falcons reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II women's tournament, but also was named the GNAC's Player of the Year.
For these accomplishments, the 23-year-old Henderson is The Herald's Woman of the Year in Sports for 2010.
Henderson, a guard, was instrumental to SPU's success at both ends of the court. In her senior season she finished ninth in the league in scoring at 13.3 points a game, seventh in assists at 2.7, and first in steals at 2.5.
For her outstanding efforts, she received eight of nine possible votes for Player of the Year in the GNAC, and was a unanimous pick to the all-conference team.
"It was," she said, "a pretty awesome accomplishment. And it was not just a reflection of me, but a reflection of my team. You need to be on a winning program to be able to achieve a goal like that. So it's not something where I thought, 'I really want to be the Player of the Year.' It just kind of happened.
"It's a huge compliment to my coaches and my teammates, and everybody who helped me to become that player."
In addition, Henderson was a third-team choice on the Division II Women's Bulletin All-America team, an honorable mention All-America pick by the Women's Basketball Coaches of America, and a Women's Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division II West Region first-team choice.
And, proving that top athletes can also be excellent students, Henderson was selected to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA)/ESPN The Magazine Academic Women's Basketball All-District VIII team. She had a 3.49 grade-point-average in biology.
For Henderson, though, what stands out about her last college season was SPU's trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. Her previous teams had all reached the NCAA tournament, but had never advanced past the Sweet 16.
"Making it to the Elite Eight was something that was pretty special," she said. "It was something that not that many people get to do in their careers."
In December, Henderson had a tryout with a pro team in Bonn, Germany, but she did not receive a contract and came back to the Seattle area. She's working as a nanny as she prepares to apply for dental school, and she still plays occasionally with club and rec-league teams.
"It's a chance to keep playing, but it's more for fun," she said.
As Henderson looks back on a basketball career that began in Snohomish and continued on to a remarkable senior season at SPU, she says her fondest memories involve "being part of a team. And that's probably the thing I'll miss the most. The road trips and traveling together."
"You develop such a bond with 10 to 15 girls every year, and I think that's something that I absolutely loved," she said. "SPU was a very tight-knit community, as was Snohomish, so that's something I'll always miss. And the games were always fun.
"I just think I grew a lot as a person and as a leader, and in ways that I would not necessarily have been able to do without my basketball experiences."

Past winners

Winners of Herald’s Man and Woman of the Year in Sports award:
1945: Joe Callan
1946: Art Whitely
1947: Bill McLaughlin
1948: Art Ramstad
1949: Jack Westland
1950: Ken Walters
1951: Ev (Garney) Conley
1952: Jim Ennis
1953: Bill Kosch
1954: Razz Canonica
1955: Anne Quast
1956: Ken Tucker, Dr. JV Curran
1957: Jim Linden
1958: Dick Erickson
1959: Bill Kinnune
1960: Walt Price
1961: Norm Lowery
1962: Pinky Erickson
1963: Ralph Mackey
1964: Jim Lambright
1965: Bob Hayes
1966: Don Gilchrest
1967: Steven Thompson
1968: Vicki Foltz
1969: Pat Woolcock
1970: Jack Bennett
1971: Bob Burton
1972: Larry Christenson
1973: Terry Ennis
1974: Earl Averill
1975: Ward Sayles
1976: Dick Armstrong, Sherron Walker
1977: Bruce Burns, Nancy Snyder
1978: Keith Gilbertson, Jo Levin
1979: Dick Rowley, Maggie King
1980: Ken Johnson, Penny Aliulis
1981: Chuck Nelson, Rosalynn Sumners
1982: Curt Marsh, Tracie Ruiz
1983: Troy Summers, Lorraine Borman
1984: Marv Harshman, Eleanor McElvaine
1985: Tom Campbell, Margaret Bavasi
1986: Lloyd Seibert, Kris Keltner
1987: Wally Richards, Vicki Borsheim
1988: Harold Pyatte, Helen Thayer
1989: Chris Henderson, Wendy Johnson
1990: Jeff Pahukoa, Jennifer Birks
1991: Tony Volpentest, Regina Bonney
1992: Shane Pahukoa, Claudia Shannon
1993: Ernie Goshorn, Erika Klein
1994: Ken Collins, Tracy Osborn
1995: Otto Olson, Karen Vann
1996: Marcus Schneider, Chrissy Sursely
1997: Mike Price, Heather Reichmann
1998: Chris Chandler, Karen Thorndike
1999: Grady Sizemore, Angie Cummins
2000: Dennis Erickson, Karen Blair
2001: Brent Barnes, Regan Scheiber
2002: Burke Barnes, Brooke Whitney
2003: Brett McClure, Kelly Foster
2004: Kevin Constantine, Kayla Burt
2005: Jon Brockman, Krista Colburn
2006: Travis Snider, Gina Carbonatto
2007: Mitch Canham, Courtney Schneider
2008: Tom Cable, Katie Holloway
2009: Garren Reichel, Danielle Pelham
2010: Shane Harper, Daesha Henderson

Story tags » Women's SportsCommunity Sports

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