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Megan Whittaker attends NCAA Women's Final Four with WBCA Allstate Good Works Team

Loyola press release - April 21, 2015

Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball player Megan Whittaker was one of 10 collegiate women’s basketball players honored at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Fla. for being named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Allstate Good Works Team.

Whittaker, the sole National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) recipient of the award, earned the prestigious honor for her service both at Loyola and in the New Orleans Community. Her community outreach ranges from serving food at a local soup kitchen to teaching children the importance of financial literacy at Holomua Life Learning Center. Whittaker has participated in multiple local community events, including Loyola’s annual Take Back the Night campaign devoted to raising awareness for domestic violence, the Louisiana Society of CPA’s financial literacy event at the Louisiana Children’s Museum and the Dinerral Shavers Education Fund at Tulane. The senior guard from Cumming, Ga. also takes time out of her hectic schedule to coach Isidore Newman’s middle school girls basketball team.

Whittaker and her fellow WBCA Allstate Good Work Team members attended both Final Four games on April 5 at Amalie Arena and were recognized at center court during halftime of the Maryland versus Connecticut semifinal game.

“Receiving such a prestigious award in front of thousands of people in the arena made me feel extremely humbled, yet empowered at the same,” Whittaker said. “The acknowledgment helped to validate my journey and further motivated me into giving back even more.”

In addition to being honored during the Final Four, Whittaker and her teammates participated in multiple group and community events throughout the course of their four-day stay in Tampa.

On Easter Sunday, Whittaker, along with her nine fellow WBCA Allstate Good Works Team members, met with Danielle Donehew, executive director of the WBCA. Each player was asked to share a three minute story as to why they were selected for the Good Works Team, and Whittaker described the experience as eye-opening.

“After hearing some of my fellow teammates’ stories, I felt motivated to dedicate more time to serving the community,” she stated. “It was truly humbling to hear the stories of these incredible individuals, and I believe God put me there to teach me how to be a better person.”

Following the meet and greet with Donehew, Whittaker and the rest of the team headed to the NCAA Tourney Town presented by Capital One for the Community Champions Celebration. The Good Works Team presented community service awards to select groups from NCAA Community 101, a program designed to teach youth about social responsibility through service learning initiatives.

Whittaker and the team, along with WNBA star Tamika Catchings, also participated in a variety of activities during the Allstate WBCA Good Works Day at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Service projects included making wellness book bags with daily essentials for younger patients, autographing miniature basketballs for patients of all ages and participating in what Whittaker considered one of her favorite parts of the trip – creating hope bracelets.

“We each wrote a word of encouragement on a sheet of paper and then rolled it into a bracelet to give to some of the individuals at the Moffitt Center,” she explained. “Although the patients may never see the word we chose, the bracelets give them a sense of security and hope moving forward.”

Whittaker and the rest of the team also got the opportunity to attend the NCAA Women’s Championship Game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Connecticut Huskies, which Whittaker described as an incredible experience.

“My family and I are huge Notre Dame fans, so it was awesome to attend the championship game with my mom and cheer on one of our favorite teams,” she stated.

After an event-filled few days, Whittaker returned to Loyola’s campus with an experience she will never forget and a renewed confidence in her future career plans.

“After participating in all of the events this week, I feel strongly about coaching at a collegiate level or possibly using my accounting degree to one day work as an athletic director or head an organization like the WBCA.”

Whittaker finishes her two-year career with the Wolf Pack with 676 total points and 187 total three-pointers. She finished the 2014-15 season with a team-high 84 three pointers, which placed her 14th in NAIA Division I in that category. Whittaker also ranked in the top 20 in both three-point field goals made per game (17th, 2.710) and three-point field goal percentage (18th, 0.384). She sits atop the Loyola women’s basketball career-three point percentage list with a two-year average of 0.395. This season she was named to the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) All-Conference Second Team and earned WBCA NAIA All-America Honorable Mention. Whittaker was also named to the SSAC All-Academic Team and garnered Daktronics-NAIA Division I Scholar Athlete honors.

The Allstate NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams are each made up of five student-athletes from the NCAA Division I and five from NCAA Divisions II, III and the NAIA. The final team rosters were chosen by prestigious voting panels comprised of former coaches, student-athletes and media members.

The following women round out the 2015 Allstate WBCA Good Works Team: NCAA Division I - Kyndal Clark (Drake), Alex Cohen (Northwestern), Bria Gloss (Kentucky), Stephanie Leon (Delaware), Devon Roeper (Columbia); NCAA Division II, III and NAIA - Kathryn Clark (Johns Hopkins), Jasmine DeBerry (Wingate), Shanteona Keys (Georgia College and State), Lea Sobieraski (State University of New York - Geneseo).

Article written by Sports Information Intern Casey Brennan.