Khara Smith - Nominee for NCAA Woman of Year

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – DePaul University women's basketball athlete Khara Smith and University of Pittsburgh volleyball player Megan McGrane have been selected as the BIG EAST's representatives for the 2006 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious honors the NCAA bestows.

This award recognizes senior student-athletes in intercollegiate athletics for their outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and community service.

Smith and McGrane were nominated by their respective schools and chosen from a pool of candidates by select BIG EAST staff members.

Smith rewrote the DePaul record books when she became the first three-time All-American in program history as she was named to the Associated Press' Third Team in 2006. She was also a third team selection following her sophomore and junior seasons. A three-year captain, Smith led the Blue Demons to the NCAA Championship in each of her four years, including the program's first Sweet 16 appearance this past season.

In her career, she totaled 2,241 points and 1,369 rebounds while shooting 59.2 percent from the field. A Wooden Award and Wade Trophy finalist for three straight years, Smith leaves DePaul as the program's all-time leader in games played, rebounds and field goal percentage. She is ranked among DePaul's top six in 12 of 17 career statistical categories.

Named to the All-BIG EAST First Team in the program's first year in the league, Smith was also a two-time All-Conference USA First Team selection, the Conference USA Freshman of the Year and was a member of the Conference USA-All Decade Team.

Smith was also accomplished off the court as a leader on campus and in the community. Smith represented the women's basketball program as a four-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. In turn, she was DePaul's delegate on the BIG EAST Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and on the NCAA Leadership Committee. In the community, Smith has volunteered since 2001 at the Misercordia Candy Days.

A Sociology major with a concentration in Juvenile Justice, the Hillside, Ill. native was named to the Athletic Directors Honor Roll and to the 2005-06 BIG EAST Academic Honor Roll.

McGrane has excelled on the volleyball court throughout her four-year career at Pittsburgh. She is the Panthers' all-time leader in digs with 2,424, and ranks fourth on the NCAA's all-time digs list among Division I athletes. In addition to her career accomplishments, she also holds many of Pitt's match and single-season records.

In 2003 and ‘05, McGrane was named BIG EAST Libero of the Year, was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team this past season and was an honorable mention selection the prior two years. Along with those honors, she was an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American and All-Northeast Region selection in both '04 and ‘05.

A regular volunteer in the Pittsburgh community, McGrane balanced her school work and team commitments while being active in the surrounding area. Since arriving at Pittsburgh, she has spent many hours visiting patients at the Montifiore and Children's Hospitals. McGrane volunteered for the Girls and Women in Sports Festival, the Celebrity Reader's Week and the Race to Any Place Bike Race. Her good deeds reached outside of Pittsburgh, as she helped to organize a fundraiser for Hurricane Ivan flood victims. On campus, McGrane has been a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee since 2002.

A native of Muncie, Ind., McGrane is a Health and Rehabilitation Science major with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.77. She was Pittsburgh's representative as the BIG EAST/Aéropostale Female Scholar Athlete of the Year, a four-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star and a four-time University Scholar-Athlete.

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