Home / Athletics /
Basketball / March 2006 / Dudley named Champion of Character; SSAC teams support each other
Alicia Dudley Christina Braswell
Dudley named Champion of Character; SSAC teams support each other
By Terry Gaston
BPC Public Relations
Neither Brewton-Parker College senior forward Alicia Dudley nor junior guard Christina Braswell saw court action for the Lady Barons in their first-round game Thursday in the 26th annual NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship in Jackson, Tenn.
However, each player had their moment in the spotlight at the past two tournaments as Brewton-Parker’s recipient of the NAIA’s Champions of Character Award.
“Champions of Character is an honor given to a player who does not necessarily have the most athletic ability but is one that exemplifies what your character should be as a student-athlete,” Lady Barons head coach Sheila Simmons said.
“Christina Braswell was our top choice last year, and this year Alicia Dudley, our senior from Milledgeville, exemplifies what character is and I think she is very deserving of the award.”
Dudley, who played at Brewton-Parker the past two seasons, was this year’s team recipient after Braswell, a three-year team member from Forsyth, was the Lady Barons’ 2005 honoree.
Each player learned of her selection in different ways and was honored differently when they received their certificates at the tournament, which has been played at Jackson’s Oman Arena since 1990 and embraced by the west Tennessee community.
Dudley, who played in 20 games this season, was honored at mid-court of Oman Arena prior to the Lady Barons’ first-round game against Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho) along with its honoree, senior guard-forward Kami Kalbfleisch – whose 10 rebounds contributed to the Warriors’ 80-63 win over Brewton-Parker.
“I was very surprised,” said Dudley, who learned of her selection on Brewton-Parker’s Senior Day on Feb. 25. “I am the type of person who likes to help people out and if anybody has any problems I want to help them out.”
Braswell, who played in 24 games as a junior, said Simmons informed her of her 2005 award just a few days before they left for Jackson.
“It really meant a lot to me, because it was something that Coach and the captains decided on,” Braswell said. “I really didn’t expect to get it but I was very surprised.”
Braswell was honored along with the other 31 teams’ representatives at the Banquet of Champions the night before play began in the 2005 tournament.
“I was able to be represented with everybody at the banquet, so it was pretty cool,”
Braswell said while at this year’s tournament. “Coach told me that I was always uplifting and motivating the players last year. I didn’t see much of the floor last year, so I took it upon myself to motivate my teammates when we weren’t doing well, I would sit and talk with them on the bench.”
One of the key elements that Champions of Character emphasizes is sportsmanship, and such was evident during the final game of the tournament’s first night of action.
The Lady Barons and Southern States Athletic Conference qualifiers Lee University (Tenn.) and Berry College stayed at Oman Arena following the 32-team Parade of Champions and another first-round game to cheer on SSAC rival Auburn University Montgomery (Ala.) in its opening contest.
The Lady Barons settled in the upper-level seats along the mid-court line and chanted “Let’s go Auburn” when the Lady Senators were on offense while Lee, sitting behind AUM’s goal, led the cheers of “Dee-fense” that the Brewton-Parker and Berry players also chanted.
“We are competitors and everybody wants to win, but what it all boils down to is what is best for our conference,” Simmons said. “We are just out there to support each other and we want to do a good job of making a good showing for our conference.”
The ultimate sportsmanship moment of the night came at halftime, when the Lee players ventured over to the Lady Barons’ section, and they all jumped and clapped to the music played over the public address system during the break.
Afterward, the players who competed hard against each other on the court twice during the season – with Brewton-Parker winning both games – shared hugs all around.
“That is just how it really should be in sports,” Simmons said. “You come out and play your best and after the game is over, you shake hands and move on. Life is a lot bigger than just Xs and Os and dribbling a basketball.
“Life is about the people we meet and the relationships we develop, and hopefully along the way you meet Christians with like values and morals, and I think that is one thing that we are establishing with the other teams in our conference, that life is not all about basketball, it’s about relationships through Christ.”
On the court, the four SSAC teams went winless in the tournament’s first round. Off the court, however, they were all champions of character.