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    Shannon Smith Wins 2011 Tewaaraton Award as Nation's Top Performer

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Shannon Smith receives her Tewaaraton Award as national player of the year from lacrosse and football legend Jim Brown (right).
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Shannon Smith receives her Tewaaraton Award as national player of the year from lacrosse and football legend Jim Brown (right).
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    June 2, 2011

    Tewaaraton Award Ceremony Photo Gallery

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Northwestern junior Shannon Smith, MVP of the 2011 NCAA Championship and a first-team All-American, can add the title of Tewaaraton Award winner to her resume after being honored by the Greater Washington Sports Alliance as the top player in NCAA women's lacrosse Thursday night.

    Smith received the coveted trophy during a reception at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., following a record-setting year in which she led Division I in points with 128, the seventh-highest single-season total in NCAA women's lacrosse history.

    "It's an honor to be this year's Tewaaraton Award recipient among such talented and well-respected lacrosse players," Smith said. "Getting to know the 10 finalists here and sharing this experience with them has been great, and having my family here and my teammates here was incredible. These past two weekends have been unreal, right now I think I'm living in a dream.

    "This award is because of my teammates -- they make me a better lacrosse player and they make me want to be a better person. I love every one of them so much and the award belongs to them."

    It marks the fifth time in the last six years that a Northwestern player has taken home the sport's top honor after Kristen Kjellman and Hannah Nielsen did so over a stretch of four consecutive years from 2006-09. Maryland is the only other school with more than one winner in the 11-year history of the Tewaaraton Award (2).

    Smith received her award from lacrosse and football icon Jim Brown -- like Smith a native Long Islander -- who was in attendance to receive the first annual Tewaaraton Legend award from the Greater Washington Sports Alliance.

    "To have Jim Brown, an incredible athlete who I grew up learning about from my dad, calling out your name as the winner just made it that much more special," Smith said.

    Smith had a knack not only for scoring often but for doing so when it mattered most, most memorably in the national semifinals and championship game. She scored with 18 seconds left to break a 10-10 tie against No. 3 North Carolina to send the 'Cats to the title game, where she notched four goals -- including what proved to be the game-winner with 4:36 remaining -- in 8-7 win against No. 1 Maryland that gave NU its sixth national championship in program history.

    In all, Smith scored 86 goals to break the previous Northwestern record of 81 set by Hilary Bowen in 2008, while also ranking among the nation's leaders with 42 assists. A single-game-high seven of those came in a 12-11 victory over No. 7 Stanford in April, one of eight games of at least five goals this year for Smith. Her two game-winning goals on NCAA Championship weekend gave her a total of six for the 2011 campaign.

    With one year still to go in her career, Smith has a chance to finish at or near the top in several career statistical categories at Northwestern. Currently, the junior is tied for fifth in school history in career assists (80), seventh in points (264) and eighth in goals (184).

    A two-time first-team All-American as well as the 2011 WomensLax.com Player of the Year, Smith also is a finalist for the Lacrosse Honda Sports Award, presented to the sport's top performer.

    About The Tewaaraton Award:
    
The Tewaaraton Award was founded in 2000 by The University Club of Washington D.C. Honoring the Native American heritage, the Tewaaraton Trophy symbolizes lacrosse's centuries-old roots in Native American history. Tradition dictates that each year the Tewaaraton Award celebrates one of the six tribal nations of the Iroquois Confederacy: the Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and in 2011 the Tuscarora. Today, the Tewaaraton Award is recognized as the pre-eminent lacrosse award honoring the nation's top male and female collegiate lacrosse player for their extraordinary achievements on the field. For more information on the Tewaaraton Award visit TewaaratonAward.org.

    Tewaaraton Award -- All-Time Winners
    2011 -- Shannon Smith, Northwestern
    2010 -- Caitlyn McFadden, Maryland
    2009 -- Hannah Nielsen, Northwestern
    2008 -- Hannah Nielsen, Northwestern
    2007 -- Kristen Kjellman, Northwestern
    2006 -- Kristen Kjellman, Northwestern
    2005 -- Katie Chrest, Duke
    2004 -- Amy Appelt, Virginia
    2003 -- Rachael Becker, Princeton
    2002 -- Erin Elbe, Georgetown
    2001 -- Jen Adams, Maryland

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