Tina Wirth and Jen Risper Honored by WBCA

ST. LOUIS, MO--Two Vanderbilt seniors were honored at the 2009 WBCA Awards Luncheon Tuesday in St. Louis, Missouri. Tina Wirth received the WBCA Scholarship Award and Jen Risper was honored as the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year.

The eyes of the women's college basketball world are turned to St. Louis, where the national championship game will be played on Tuesday night.

Every year the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), the national professional organization for all levels of women's basketball, including high school, junior college, NAIA and all three divisions of NCAA basketball, holds its annual convention in conjunction with the Final Four.

On Tuesday afternoon, the WBCA's 2009 Awards Luncheon to honor student-athletes, coaches, administrators and others who have made significant contributions to the sport was held in downtown St. Louis at the Hyatt Regency.

The Vanderbilt seniors flew to St. Louis on Monday night. Tina Wirth was the first Vanderbilt student-athlete to be called to receive her award, presented by WBCA CEO Beth Bass. The WBCA honors two WBCA Scholarship Award recipients, and Tina was one of them.

Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli were the Masters of Ceremony for the luncheon

After Tina had received her award and posed for photos, she left the stage. But a "Hey, Christina, where are you going??" got a laugh and brought her back, as her extensive list of honors and accomplishments wasn't finished yet.

Women's hoops guru Mel Greenburg was on hand to present the Mel Greenberg Media Award to Chuck Shoffner, retired Associated Press reporter. In his opening comments, Greenburg quipped, "You just invited me here so you could see what a newspaper writer looks like before we all disappear."

Susan Yow accepted the Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her sister, the late Kay Yow, who passed away earlier this year after a long battle with breast cancer.

Jen Risper was honored as the WBCA Defensive Player of the Year. Jen is the first women's basketball player at Vanderbilt to receive an individual honor by a national professional organization.

After receiving the award, Jen shared a few comments with the audience. She said that although it's an individual award, she thinks of it as an award for the team as well.

Tina and Jen

Before their flight back to Nashville, Tina and Jen posed for a photo with Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb and assistant coaches Lisa Cermignano, Vicky Picott, and Kim Rosamond.

Photos copyright 2009 by Whitney D. for VandyMania.com

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