Kittitian teenager named Scholar Athlete at U.S. college

On top of that and a number of conference and regional honors for her time on the court, she was this year’s women’s basketball MVP – all while carrying a 4.0 grade point average, according to Laurel Griffin, writing in the Telegraph.com, an Illinois newspaper.

“It felt like I had just swept at the Grammys,” Audain said of the honours given to her at this year’s Athletic Banquet in early May

Audain walked the stage during the college’s 41st annual commencement on Wednesday, May 16, to accept her final achievement at LCCC – an associate in science degree. She studied business at the college and hopes to work in either business management or finance. First, she plans to continue her education.

“I’m currently looking at places to play, but I don’t just want to go to school to play ball,” she said in a May interview. “I want to be happy and get a good education.”

Audain came to Lewis and Clark two years ago after being scouted to play basketball. At that point, she’d only played the sport for two years, although she’d had experience playing netball back home. Because netball is similar to basketball, only without a backboard, layups took getting used to, she said. She never guessed that just two years later, she would be named First Team All Conference MCCAC, Second Team All Conference MWAC and First Team All Region for NJCAA in the sport.

“At the time I came to Lewis and Clark, I was still developing as a basketball player,” Audain said.

But basketball wasn’t the only thing that took getting used to. Audain had visited the United States before, but there were cultural differences from home.

“College was only similar to high school in that my classes were small,” she said.

An overachiever, Audain took 11 subjects compared to the standard nine at her private high school, and usually landed in the top four in her class, where teachers were addressed as “sir” or “ma’am.” There were no organized sports for women, although she played netball outside of school for the Coca-Cola Shamrocks.

At Lewis and Clark, she took her classes early in the day to make room for study halls, open gyms, practices, bus rides and games. In class, teachers wanted to be called by their first names.

Audain took her studies seriously, and grew to think of her teammates as family – including Tenelle Lapsey and Shacarma Warner, also from St. Kitts, who played netball and basketball against her back home. She also grew close to teammates Claudette Maurice and Mika Eriste.

“Every year you get a different family. You eat with them, go to school with them, play with them, ride the bus with them and more,” she said.

Her memories from LCCC are mostly happy ones – road trips with the men’s team and Springfest with the other athletes – but some are bittersweet. The women’s basketball team ended its 2011-2012 season one game away from a national playoff berth.

“That game hit me extremely hard,” Audain said. “I had just hit the same layup four times in a row, and it just bubbled out. We wanted it so bad. Lots of emotion…”

Still, she can be proud of how far she’s come as an athlete and of her academic achievements.

“There are good and bad stereotypes of student athletes – plus, I’m black and female,” she said. “Still, as a student athlete, I feel like I broke a mold.”

When she’s not studying or playing ball, Audain enjoys reading and listening to music – “anything but country,” she said. “I’m trying to get a Kindle so I don’t have to walk around with a lot of books.”

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