Shipman wins softball's Honda Award - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Shipman wins softball's Honda Award

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee All-American shortstop Madison Shipman has been named the Honda Sports Award winner for Softball as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of The Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA).

The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies "the best of the best in collegiate athletics". With this honor, Shipman becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2014 Honda Cup. Shipman was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. The nominees were chosen by a group of experts representing the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Finalists included Cheridan Hawkins (Oregon), Maddie O'Brien (Florida State) and Sierra Romero (Michigan).

The Honda Cup winner will be announced during the live telecast of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards show presented by Honda at 8 p.m. ET, on Monday, June 30, at the USC Founders Club at Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif.

"I am extremely honored to not only win this award but be apart of the award's legendary list of recipients," said Shipman. "My coaches, teammates and the University of Tennessee have all helped me become the player and person I am today. It has been an unforgettable journey for me these last four years and I couldn't have done this without them."

Shipman joins Monica Abbott (2007) as the second Tennessee softball player to win the Honda Sports Award for softball. She was the fifth Lady Vol to be named a finalist and Tennessee's sixth finalist selection as Abbott was a finalist in both 2006 and 2007. UT had two finalists in 2006 in Abbott and Sarah Fekete, who led the nation with a .500 batting average. Abbott won the award in 2007 after a stellar senior campaign in which she posted 50 wins and set the NCAA single-season record with 724 strikeouts. Tonya Callahan was a finalist for her 2008 SEC Player of the Year senior campaign. Lauren Gibson was a finalist in 2013 for her SEC Player of the Year senior season.

Tennessee women's basketball legends Chamique Holdsclaw (1998) and Candace Parker (2008) are the only two UT student-athletes to win the Honda Cup.

"Madison is an amazing person in every respect," said Tennessee co-head coach Ralph Weekly. "She is the type of player every coach dreams of having in their program. Her talent is obvious. What sets her apart is the way she motivates others to excel on the field and in the classroom. She is truly deserving of this tremendous honor."

Last week, Shipman became the first Tennessee student-athlete in any sport to win the prestigious Senior CLASS Award. Shipman enjoyed a banner 2014 season in which she also earned NFCA All-American honors for the third-straight year and Capital One Academic All-America honors for the second-consecutive year. She was a top 10 finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award and became just the fourth Lady Vol to be named SEC Player of the Year.

Shipman helped guide Tennessee to the 2014 NCAA Super Regionals and had the best season of her career. She finished the year with a team-high .417 batting average, 18 homers, 16 doubles, 54 RBIs, 56 runs, 46 walks and 13 stolen bases. She also led the team with a .833 slugging percentage and a .548 on-base percentage. Shipman tied Tennessee's single-season record with a 20-game hitting streak from Feb. 9 to March 9 and set a new school single-game record with nine defensive assists against South Carolina on March 23.

Shipman shined throughout the grind of the 2014 SEC season, was a two-time SEC Player of the Week (March 24, April 14) and led the league with a .591 on-base percentage and ranked second in the with a .449 batting average, an .899 slugging percentage and 26 runs in league play. She also ranked third with seven doubles, fourth with 25 RBIs and tied for fifth with nine homers in SEC play.

In 29 games against teams that made the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Shipman hit a team-best .416 (32-for-77) with 12 homers, four doubles, 30 RBIs, 30 runs, 29 walks, five stolen bases, a .935 slugging percentage and a .579 on-base percentage.

Shipman completed her Tennessee career as one of UT's best all-around players and one of its greatest power hitters. She finished her career ranked in Tennessee's top five in home runs (44, third), doubles (55, third), total bases (444, third), RBIs (207, fourth), walks (105, fourth) and slugging percentage (.611, fifth). Shipman posted a .348 career batting average and finished in the Lady Vols' top 10 in at-bats (737, ninth), runs (177, 10th), hits (253, 10th) and stolen bases (58, ninth). Her fielding was superb and she was widely regarded as the best defensive shortstop in the nation. Shipman's 397 career assists ranked second in Tennessee history and her 29 career double plays turned rank third.

The CWSA presents the Honda Sports Award annually to top women student-athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. Honda Sports award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year and all Honda Sports award winners become a finalist for the prestigious 2014 Honda Cup award presented in June.

Last year's Honda Cup winner was Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) representing the sport of softball. Two other student-athletes from the sport of softball have gone on to win the prestigious Honda Cup, Natasha Watley (UCLA) in 2003 and Lisa Fernandez (UCLA) in 1993.

THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation's top NCAA women athletes for 37 years, recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $2.8 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women's athletics programs at the institutions.
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