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Pankowski tabbed California Rubber Magazine’s NCAA Women’s Player of the Year

 

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Annie Pankowski would not be denied.

The Wisconsin senior came up empty on three previous trips to the Frozen Four, but she ensured she’d finish her career carrying a championship banner.

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Pankowski, who earlier in March became just the sixth player in Badgers history to surpass 200 career points, captained Wisconsin to its first NCAA title since 2011 with a stirring performance down the season’s stretch.

For her efforts, she is California Rubber Magazine’s Women’s Player of the Year for the fourth time in five seasons.

She redshirted last season while playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Pankowski, a Laguna Hills native, saved her best for last. She scored 11 of her 28 goals in March, when the Badgers tore through the WCHA and the NCAA. Her 21 career postseason goals – including three in this year’s Frozen Four – are a Wisconsin record.

Pankowski closed her Badgers career with 206 points and was a three-time finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. She was also a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award.

And her playing career isn’t finished. She and another All-California pick, defenseman Cayla Barnes, played for Team USA at the Women’s World Championships in early April in Finland and brought home gold.

Meet the rest of the team

FORWARDS

Brooke Bryant, Minnesota State – The freshman led the Mavericks in goals (11) and was second in points (20) while playing in all 35 games.

Nicole Dunbar, New Hampshire – The junior’s 13 points gave her three consecutive seasons in double figures. She’s also a power-play threat.

Kayla Nielsen, St. Lawrence – Another durable senior (139 career games), her 15 points were just off her career high and she won 57 percent of her faceoffs.

Dominique Petrie, Harvard – Her 15 points, including nine goals, came in just 22 games due to her commitments with USA Hockey.

Justine Reyes, St. Lawrence – She led the Saints in scoring for the second season in a row (26 points) and finished her career having amassed 107 points and playing in all 144 games. Fourteen of her 52 goals were game-winners.

DEFENSEMEN

Cayla Barnes, Boston College – Her freshman season delayed one year because of the 2018 Olympic Games, Barnes was an impact player with 23 points and a team-high 74 blocked shots.

Tanner Gates, Colgate – The freshman was a key cog in the Raiders’ power play, netting five goals there, among her 22 points. She also blocked 33 shots.

Lydia Grauer, St. Lawrence – The every-situation standout finished her career playing in all 144 games. Three of her four goals came on the power play and her 51 blocks were second on the Saints.

Gabby Monaco, St. Anselm – The sophomore, who also plays forward, went from two points to 25 and was a plus-39.

Photo/UW Athletics

— Chris Bayee

(April 29, 2019)