MILWAUKEE – Junior Holly Denfeld of the MSOE women's basketball team has been named the recipient of the 2016 Josten's Trophy by the Salem (Va.) Rotary Club, the organization announced Thursday.
Denfeld had been one of 10 women's finalists for the award, which is awarded to an outstanding NCAA Division III men's and women's basketball player who excels on the court, in the classroom, and in the community. She is the second-straight junior to win the award and the third in its history.
"I am just a small-town girl doing what I love to do every day," Denfeld said. "There are times where I feel stressed, exhausted, and think about quitting, but my end goals are what keep me going: I want our basketball team to make it to the NCAA tournament, I want to be an expert in my career after graduation, and I want to make a difference in the lives of others. I am honored to be recognized for my efforts and am truly blessed with the most amazing people who have helped me along this amazing journey."
In the classroom, Denfeld has maintained a 4.00 grade point average as an architectural engineering and construction management major. She was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team last week, her second-straight Academic All-America award.
"Holly Denfeld is a tremendous student-athlete and person," head coach Jessica Ott said. "This award is a fitting recognition for all of the hard work she has put in on the court, in the classroom and in the community."
On the court, Denfeld was named the NACC Player of the Year and made her third-straight appearance on the All-NACC First Team. She led the conference in scoring at 19.7 points per game, three points better than any other player, as well as field goal percentage with a school-record 58.4 percent shooting from the field. She is also third in the conference in rebounding at 9.7 rebounds per game and posted 12 double-doubles this season.
The highlight of the campaign was Feb. 2, when she scored a school-record 40 points to go with 17 rebounds at Edgewood. She also tied a school record with a 12-for-12 performance at the free throw line in the game and was subsequently named the USBWA National Player of the Week, to the D3hoops.com National Team of the Week, and was voted the HEROSports.com HERO of the Week.
Denfeld also surpassed 1,000 career points Jan. 5 at Concordia Wisconsin.
The Raiders went 18-8 this season, posting their best-ever conference record and finish. They were 16-4 in league play and tied for second place in the standings.
In addition to balancing her academic and athletic successes, Denfeld has found time to be active in the community. She has logged numerous hours with Habitat for Humanity, Milwaukee Empty Bowls, Kayla's Crew, Sam's Hope, as well as with the Milwaukee Heart Walk and Walk for Diabetes. She's also been a student leader with the MSOE Student-Athlete Advisory Council and on campus.
The Jostens Trophy is a national award created by the Salem Rotary Club to honor the most outstanding men's and women's NCAA Division III basketball players of the year. The award takes into account three vital parts: basketball ability, academic prowess, and community service. The trophy models the Rotary International motto of "Service Above Self" by recognizing those who truly fit the ideal of the well-rounded NCAA Division III student-athlete. This year's award marks the 19th year in which it has been presented.
Denfeld will receive her award Thursday, March 17, at the Salem Civic Center in conjunction with the NCAA Division III men's basketball semifinals and championship in Salem, Va., on March 18-19.
The Edgar, Wis., native was the third MSOE women's basketball player to be a finalist for the award, following Catherine Chappell in 2007 and Carol Cayo in 2012. Over the history of the Lake Michigan Conference and Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, there have been just three other finalists, though no other school has more than one.