BY JESSICA JACKSON
WASHINGTON D.C. —
With equal dedication in the classroom as on the floor, two players on the USAO women’s basketball team earned national accolades as a student-athlete.
Senior Tashina Ototivo and junior Paige Pulliam were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes this week.
“We are very proud of them. They work very hard and are certainly deserving of this recognition,” said Jennifer Hayden, head women’s basketball coach. “They set a very good example for students and athletes to follow on the court and in the classroom.”
Ototivo and Pulliam are two of just six Oklahoma natives to earn the honor for women’s basketball this season. In total, the NAIA honored 124 student-athletes nationwide.
Ototivo — USAO’s only four-year senior — was a integral part of the Drover system since she joined the team as a true freshman. She maintained a busy schedule, staying active in student organizations as well as exceling on the court and as a student.
Ototivo led the 2012-13 squad in rebounds, collecting 172 on the season, and in blocks with nine. Additionally, she had one of the best shooting percentages on the team and scored more than 200 points. She had a season total of 40 steals as well.
For her career, she’s scored 730 points and is second in school history in career rebounds with 659. In her four years, she has played in every single game for the Drovers.
Ototivo has maintained a 3.82 grade point average, majoring in psychology with minors in music and Spanish.
In February, she earned Academic All-Conference honors. Last season, she was named All-Conference Honorable Mention, and as a freshman, she earned USAO’s Bill and Pat Smith Scholar-Athlete Scholarship, awarded to one male and one female athlete each year.
She is a forward from Walters and is the granddaughter of Rebecca Howlingwater.
For three years, Pulliam has been a strong member of the team and a model student.
The junior guard scored 211 points for the Drovers this season and came in second on the team in steals with 41 and assists with 56. Additionally, Pulliam had the team’s highest free throw percentage, making more than 80 percent of her shots from the line.
Leading the Drovers in scoring as a sophomore, Pulliam has scored 690 points in her three years at USAO. She’s also had 150 assists and 106 steals.
Pulliam has not spared her studying, however. As a biology junior, she has a cumulative grade point average of 3.90. She is also active in Drovers Against Cancer and the Biology and Associated Sciences Club.
In February, she earned Academic All-Conference honors. Last season, she earned USAO’s Bill and Pat Smith Scholar-Athlete Scholarship, awarded to one male and one female athlete each year.
Pulliam, a guard from Newcastle, is the daughter of Wes and Janice Pulliam.