Cowgirls Copeland, Tapia Nominated for 2019 NCAA Women of the Yar

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From the Desk of Harry Leroy Endicott

Wyoming Athletic Department

LARAMIE – Former Wyoming standouts Reed Copeland and Claara Tapia are the Cowgirls nominees for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year. There are a record 585 nominees, representing multiple sports from the NCAA Divisions I, II and III levels honored by their conferences and by independent schools.

Copeland leaves Wyoming in the top 10 of a number of categories in the school record book. She is tied for fifth in school history in career hitting percentage at .290, second in school history in total blocks with 658 and seventh in Cowgirl history for most sets played in a career with 445.

In 2018, Copeland set career highs in kills (240), attacks (515), blocks (195) and points (349.0). She will finish her career with 793 kills, 658 blocks (87 solo) and 1,165.5 points.

The Federal Way, Wash., native finished in the top five nationally in both blocks per set and total blocks in both 2015 and 2018.

During her four seasons at Wyoming, Copeland helped lead the Cowgirls to a 78-45 overall record and a 48-24 conference record. From 2015-18, UW never finished outside the top four in the MW, recording conference finishes of third (2015), fourth (2016), second (2017) and third (2018). The Cowgirls are coming off back-to-back appearances in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship, marking the first consecutive postseason appearances for Wyoming volleyball since 1990.

Tapia, a senior guard from Barcelona, Spain, helped guide the Cowgirls to their first ever Mountain West Championship game in 2019, capping a season in which the Cowgirls had 25 wins, equalling the second-most in school history.

The Cowgirls also advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament for the second time in program history. She has been on teams that have won at least 20 games each of her three seasons, during which the Cowgirls won a school-record-tying 13 conference games annually.

Tapia started all 34 games for the Cowgirls the past season, averaging 3.9 points, 3.1 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game in 26.9 minutes per contest. One of the nation's best decision-makers with the ball, she finished second in the Mountain West and 23rd in the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio with a mark of 2.5, finishing the year with an even or positive ratio in 32 of 34 games.

She led the Cowgirls in assists in 11 games, and finished her career at No. 5 on Wyoming's all-time assist list with 394 in three seasons. Defensively, Tapia registered 28 steals, two blocks and took nine charges during her senior campaign.

Off the court, Tapia earned her second-consecutive CoSIDA Academic All-America honor, as she was added to the second-team. She is the only Cowgirl basketball player with two such honors in the program's history. Additionally, she was a finalist for the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri award as Wyoming's top undergraduate student. Tapia carried a 4.0 GPA in molecular biology and chemistry.

The Mountain West Conference will announce its two finalists, before the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees – 10 from each division.

The selection committee will determine the top three honorees from each division from the Top 30 and announce the nine finalists in September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then will choose the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.

The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual award ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.

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