INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (BGSU Athletic Communications) – Bowling Green State University women's basketball standout Jessica Slagle has been honored with an NCAA Sportsmanship Award, the NCAA office announced Tuesday morning (July 31). Slagle is one of just four student-athletes (plus one team) to earn the award.
The five winners, representing all three membership divisions, have been honored with the award, which is given for notable displays of sporting behavior. The Association also recognized Belmont men’s basketball coach Rick Byrd with the annual Bob Frederick Award for the values he has instilled in his teams.
In addition to Slagle (NCAA Division I), the winners of the division Sportsmanship Awards were Blake McJunkin, Southern Methodist football (Division I); the Georgian Court women’s soccer team (Division II); John Sgromolo, Flagler baseball (Division II); and Erika McGuire, Rose-Hulman women’s volleyball (Division III).
The NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct selected the winners.
"The entire BG family is extremely proud of Jess Slagle for receiving this prestigious award from the NCAA,” said BGSU women's basketball head coach Jennifer Roos. Roos and her staff nominated Slagle for the award.
"For her to be recognized as the only Division I female recipient is an outstanding achievement. Jess was an integral part of our program's earning four MAC championships during her tenure, but her quality character and high level of sportsmanship will leave a longer-lasting impression than any game in which she played."
Slagle, a native of Sidney, Ohio (Lehman Catholic H.S.), was a team tri-captain and an All-Mid-American Conference Second-Team selection in 2011-12, her senior season. Normally a 2 guard, Slagle was forced to play point guard in leading the Falcons to their eighth consecutive MAC regular-season championship, and “maintained the perfect balance between aggressively doing what is necessary to win the game while being compassionate for every athlete on the court,” said BGSU Director of Athletics Greg Christopher.
He cited one game during which two players collided going for a loose ball. An opponent was bleeding from a head wound, and Slagle rushed to her side, holding her up so she wouldn’t pass out and also holding a towel in place until a staff member intervened. “This player was able to come back and hit the game-winning bucket, making Jess’ concern and assistance all the more respectable,” Christopher said.
In another case, when it appeared an opponent had suffered a broken nose, Slagle stood with her until the athletic trainer arrived. Slagle later checked with the training staff to see how the injured player was doing. “She maintains the perfect balance between aggressively doing what is necessary to win while being compassionate for every athlete on the court,” Christopher said.
Slagle started all 31 games in '11-12, averaging 12.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game to rank third on the team in scoring and fourth in rebounding. She also averaged a team-high 2.5 assists along with 1.5 steals per outing. In MAC games only, she scored 13.4 ppg to rank second on the team, and she led the Falcons with 3.1 assists.
Slagle scored a career-high 23 points in her final collegiate game, vs. VCU in the WNIT. She earned MAC Player-of-the-Week honors on two occasions during her final season, and finished her career with totals of 726 points and 167 assists.