June 5, 2012
WATCH: Thornton Season Highlights
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern junior Taylor Thornton (Dallas, Texas/Hockaday School) has been voted the winner of the 2012 Lacrosse Honda Sports Award, an honor signifying the most outstanding player in college women's lacrosse this season. Thornton was selected following a nationwide vote conducted by more than 1,000 NCAA member institutions.
By virtue of her selection, Thornton is slotted as one of 12 individuals from NCAA-sponsored sports eligible to be named 2012 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.
"I would like to give my sincere thanks to the Honda Collegiate Women Sports Award Committee for recognizing me with this honor," Thornton said. "I am truly humbled and honored to accept the award for lacrosse. Support from my teammates and coaches made our collective success this season possible and without them I would not have the opportunity to be nominated for the Honda Sports Award. To be in the company of legends from across so many women's sports is quite an achievement and I am beyond proud. Thank you again for this incredible award."
Thornton becomes the fourth player in Northwestern lacrosse history to be honored with the Honda Sports Award but the first who shines primarily on the defensive end. She joins former Wildcat greats Kristen Kjellman (2005, 2006, 2007) and Hannah Nielsen (2008, 2009) as well as 2011 winner Shannon Smith as Northwestern's Honda Sports Award winners, keeping the trophy in Evanston for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.
A leader on and off the field for Northwestern, Thornton in 2012 built off a sophomore campaign in which she was the IWLCA National Defender of the Year by raising her output on the offensive end to 33 goals, more than doubling her total from the year before. Thornton managed to remain a force on defense and on the draw circle, tying the Northwestern single-season record with 58 ground balls while ranking second on the team in draw controls with a career-best 71 and third with 28 caused turnovers.
Thornton played her best when it mattered most for Northwestern, recording a game-high seven draw controls and two goals in a semifinal victory over Maryland on May 25. In the championship game vs. Syracuse two days later, Thornton came up equally as big when she broke a 6-6 tie with what proved to be a game-winning goal with under 10 minutes to play, lifting NU to its seventh NCAA championship in the last eight seasons.
Also a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award in women's lacrosse, Thornton's postseason accolades include American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year honors, first-team IWLCA All-America recognition as well as being chosen as the Defender of the Year by Inside Lacrosse.
Joining Thornton on the current roster of 2012 Honda Sports Award winners are: Sheila Reid of Villanova (cross country), Megan Frazer of Maryland (field hockey), Teresa Noyola of Stanford (soccer), Alex Jupiter of Southern California (volleyball), Caitlin Leverenz of California (swimming & diving), Brittney Griner of Baylor (basketball), Kytra Hunter of Florida (gymnastics), Brooke Pancake of Alabama (golf), Nicole Gibbs of Stanford (tennis) and 2012 Honda Inspiration Award Winner Elena Delle Donne of Delaware (basketball).
From its pool of 12 student-athletes, the Collegiate Women's Sports Awards will select three finalists to attend the Honda Cup ceremony June 22-23 in Los Angeles.
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