Novosel Nominated for Senior CLASS Award

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Every year, 20 male and female senior student-athletes across 10 sports are honored via nominations for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The Senior CLASS award, which stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, commends senior student-athletes for their four-year commitment to their respective college programs. In addition to staying in school for four years, candidates have displayed exemplary achievement in the areas of character, classroom, community, and competition. From the 20 candidates from each sport, 10 finalists are chosen, and the public votes to determine the ultimate winner in each category.

Because of her outstanding performance both on and off the court, it is no surprise that women's basketball player, Natalie Novosel, was nominated as a candidate and chosen as a finalist for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

Novosel can remember the first time she ever played in a Notre Dame game. The arena felt smaller then, and she remembers there being far fewer fans than there are now. Though she saw playing time in all thirty-one games freshman year, Novosel describes herself as feeling like a "deer-in-the-headlights" on the court sometimes during her first season of play with the Irish.

"It's so amazing now being such a contributor, and thinking back to being a freshman, but it was fun, and I just remember wanting to get better after every single summer here," Novosel said.

In fact, it is her work ethic that has made Novosel stand out in the NCAA. Coming off of a difficult sophomore season during which she even considered transferring schools, Novosel was committed to working harder than ever, and her junior season was noticeably improved. Due to her tenacity and strong work ethic, Novosel was able to come back her junior season to more than triple her scoring average from the previous year. Novosel averaged four rebounds per game and contributed seventy-five steals on the season to help the Irish in their run for the national championship.

"I am most proud of how I have been able to grow as a player. It took a lot for me to get through sophomore year, and I stuck with it, and I couldn't be happier. It just fueled my fire to help with the championship run. I think that's what I am most proud of," Novosel said.

Novosel has proven herself both on and off of the court, earning a 3.889 GPA while pursuing a degree in Anthropology. She says that studying at Notre Dame has taught her a lot about hard work, time management, and self-discipline, and she feels that she will carry many of these lessons with her in the future. On campus, Novosel has been able to participate in freshman orientation in her dorm, Pangborn Hall, and attend many events with friends and teammates. Additionally, she has been instrumental in the team's community outreach projects, visiting local elementary schools, contributing to youth basketball clinics, and participating in other programs that support children and cancer patients.

"We're happy to go and serve because we have a lot of fans, and it's good to give back to them because they come and support us, so that's a great thing that we do," Novosel says of the team service projects.

Now in her senior season, Novosel serves as co-captain with Brittany Mallory and Devereaux Peters. She values all of the time that she has been able to spend getting to know her teammates on a personal basis and learning what makes the team tick. Though the captains have set high expectations for their team, she believes that they will continue to meet every goal and even go above and beyond their expectations. Novosel and her co-captains complement one another well, and she considers herself to be a "leader by example."

Not only has she set an excellent example for her team, but Novosel is also a standout in all of college basketball, and this is the reason why she has been nominated for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Through her commitment to sportsmanship, athleticism, academics, and service, Novosel has created a lasting positive impact on Notre Dame, the South Bend community, and Women's College Basketball at large. Few players have demonstrated such great improvements on the court while maintaining such a positive attitude, academic achievement, and community involvement.

"It is very humbling to be nominated with the other candidates who are really great. It's really nice to be a part of this without even having to do anything. The fact that they saw something in me is very rewarding and humbling," Novosel said of her nomination for the award.

While Novosel says that she would be hugely honored to be the recipient of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, she and the rest of the women's basketball team have their sights set on the ultimate prize. Coming up just short last year, the women were not able to clench the national championship against Texas A&M. This year, however, Novosel is even more determined to win the title.

"I haven't even thought about winning [The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award]. I'm just honored to be nominated. I think that winning a national championship would mean more to me than an individual award because it takes an entire team to work together," Novosel said.

Novosel says that the team's previous run for the national championship has been the highlight of her basketball career, and she is honored to have been a contributor on that team. Now looking to top last year's success, the team must work harder than ever. Luckily, Novosel knows from experience how to utilize hard work and discipline to get the best results, and she will do everything she can to get the team to the national championship game for the second year in a row.

"I want to win a national championship. Absolutely. I really feel like my life would be complete after that," Novosel said with conviction.

The remainder of the season will be monumental for Novosel's basketball career. She is up for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, is looking forward to another national championship run, and will be entering the WNBA draft shortly after the national championship game.

Ultimately, Novosel would like to play in the WNBA for a number of years and then go back to school to pursue a career as a physicians assistant. Regardless of where Novosel finds herself in the future, she will undoubtedly work as hard as possible to achieve greatness as she has done throughout her time at Notre Dame.

To vote for Novosel for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, visit www.seniorclassaward.com.

- Maura Jones ('14)

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