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Two WCC Basketball Players Earn D I-AAA Academic Awards

April 7, 2010

The Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association announced its men's and women's scholar-athlete teams today with Pepperdine's Miranda Ayim being named the nation's top Division I-AAA women's basketball scholar-athlete, while Portland's Robin Smeulders was named to the men's scholar-athlete team.

The organization (which consists of the 95 Division I schools that do not sponsor football) released its annual 10-member Scholar-Athlete teams today for men's and women's basketball. From each team, one student-athlete was selected as the Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and Ayim was the choice on the women's side.

In order to qualify for Division I-AAA Scholar-Athlete honors, a nominee was required to have a minimum 3.20 grade-point average, be at least a junior in athletics and academic standing and have participated in at least 50 percent of a team's games.

Ayim (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary) recently finished one of the top basketball careers in Pepperdine history. She will graduate this spring with a degree in public relations and holds a 3.71 grade-point average.

The senior center was named to the All-West Coast Conference first team for the third time in 2010, becoming only the fourth player in Pepperdine history to earn first team honors three times and the first since 2002. In 2010, when she led the Waves with 15.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots, she was also a two-time WCC Player of the Week and made the All-Tournament teams at the WCC Championships and the Arizona State Classic. She helped Pepperdine to 20 wins and a spot in the postseason WNIT.

Ayim became Pepperdine's all-time leader in career blocked shots with 182, and appears prominently elsewhere in the career records lists, ranking fifth in field goals made (581), sixth in games played (119), eighth in points (1,377) and eighth in rebounds (735). In 2010, she also set the school single-season record for blocked shots with 85 and tied the single-game record with nine.

Also a standout in the classroom, Ayim was named to the WCC All-Academic first team for the third time in 2010, becoming the first Pepperdine women's basketball player ever to accomplish that feat. She was a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and made the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team. In 2009, she also made the Academic All-District third team, was an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports-Scholar and was chosen as Pepperdine Athletics' Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She also serves as a co-Vice President of Pepperdine's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Smeulders, senior from Braunschweig, Germany, earned All-West Coast Conference First Team honors this season after averaging 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and leading the Pilots to a 21-11 record. He became the 32nd player to record 1,000 career points as a Pilot in the final regular season game of the season. He also was named to the WCC All-Academic Team for the third consecutive season.