Beatrice Attura becomes Lady Demons basketball’s first Academic All-American

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NATCHITOCHES – Throughout her Northwestern State women’s basketball career, Beatrice Attura has been honored individually for her play on the court and for her work in the classroom.

Those facets of Attura’s student-athlete career were jointly honored on a national scale Thursday as Attura became the first Lady Demons basketball player to earn a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team.

Attura, a senior guard who carries a 3.94 grade point average as a business administration major, became the 15th student-athlete in school history to earn election to a Division I Academic All-America team. She is the first NSU representative to earn first-team honors since football’s Justin Aldredge in 2011.

Joining Attura on the first-team were CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year Ally Disterhoft of Iowa (4.03 GPA in finance and accounting), New Mexico’s Cherise Beynon (4.07, business administration/entrepreneurship), Duke’s Lexie Brown (3.65, sociology) and DePaul’s Jessica January (3.96, communication).

“I’m completely honored,” Attura said. “I was in shock when I found out. Of all the great players in women’s college basketball, for me to be one of the five on the first team is really an honor. I really try to do my best in all aspects of life and that includes academics honestly. I’ve tried to prepare myself to be the best I can.”

She became the seventh woman from Northwestern State to earn Academic All-America recognition, joining N-Club Hall of Fame tennis star Karen Patel in 1991, softball’s Maureen Kracik (1986), Annie Johnston (2002) and Nicole Martin (2005), NCAA discus champion Trecey Rew (2011) and tennis’ Natalya Krutova (2016). Attura is the first Lady Demon to earn first-team Academic All-America honors since Martin.

“It reconfirms what we try to preach here, which is academics come first,” first-year head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “There’s a reason why it’s called student-athlete and not athlete-student. She’s been a great ambassador for the program. She’s going to do her job no matter what on the court or in the classroom. She’s a role model not only for players in our program but for other student-athletes on campus.”

Forty top NCAA Division I women’s basketball student-athletes qualified as finalists for the 2017 Academic All-America team after being named to one of eight five-woman Academic All-District Teams. Fifteen of those were named to three, five-member teams. Attura was the lone Academic All-District selection from a Southland Conference member institution.

Attura was selected to the Academic All-District 6 Team, which encompasses Division I schools from Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

A three-time Southland Conference Commissioner’s Spring Honor Roll member and a second-team Academic All-Southland Conference selection in both her sophomore and junior seasons, Attura has enjoyed her best statistical season in 2016-17.

She enters Thursday night’s game at Stephen F. Austin ranked 14th nationally in scoring average (20.7 points per game), one of 15 national top-100 marks she has compiled through 27 games.

Her 79 made 3-pointers lead the Southland Conference and have moved her within five of tying Janelle Perez’ school record set during the 2015-16 season. Attura has connected on 174 career 3-pointers, a total that ranks seventh in school history.

With two regular-season games remaining, Attura has moved into 13th place on Northwestern State’s all-time scoring list with 1,385 career points and places her 88th among active NCAA Division I women’s basketball players. Her 558 points this season are tied for ninth on NSU’s single-season list.

Additionally, Attura’s 82.2 percent career free-throw percentage ranks her 15th among active Division I players.

Comprising the second team were Northern Arizona’s Rene Coggins (4.0, accounting, finance and hotel restaurant management), Oklahoma State’s Kaylee Jensen (3.82, nutritional sciences/allied health), Kent State teammates Jordan Korinek (4.0, special education) and Larissa Lurken (3.72, nursing) and Stanford’s Erica McCall (3.58, psychology).

Third-team members were Indiana’s Amanda Cahill (3.9, elementary education), Maine’s Sigi Koizar (3.97, biology), UConn’s Kia Nurse (3.44, liberal arts and sciences), Minnesota’s Carlie Wagner (3.64, business marketing and education) and Oregon State’s Sydney Wiese (3.66, speech communication).

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