Sanchez, Cooper Selected as March Scholar-Athletes

Pair of juniors recognized for superior work on the courts and in the classroom

Junior Julian Sanchez of the Eastern Washington University men’s tennis team and junior Chene Cooper from the women’s basketball squad were selected as EWU’s Scholar-Athletes of the Month for March.

Sanchez, an international student from Ciudad Real, Spain, holds a 3.51 cumulative grade point average in business administration/economics. Cooper, a 2008 graduate of Lakes High School in Puyallup, Wash., has a 3.28 GPA in criminal justice.

More on Sanchez

Sanchez had a nearly flawless February, as he won four of his five singles matches, as well as four of five doubles matches played during the month.

He opened the 2011 Big Sky season with three-consecutive wins on the road against Northern Colorado (Feb. 6), Weber State (Feb. 25) and Idaho State (Feb. 27). Sanchez was the only Eagle to record a win against Weber State, as he topped P. Ramstromer Pello in straight sets, 7-6, 6-3. The very next day, he helped Eastern to a 5-2 victory over Idaho State when he bested Dakota Pate by the exact same score of 7-5, 6-3.

Sanchez, and partner Chad Henninger, also went undefeated in doubles in the first three league matches of the year. The duo is currently riding a six-match winning streak, including five in a row in conference. Sanchez and Henninger also downed the No. 2 doubles teams from Montana State and Montana in Eastern’s most recent outings on March 5 and 6, respectively.

Sanchez is 7-5 on the year in singles play, and 7-4 in doubles action. His seven wins in singles, which he has earned primarily at No. 3, ties for the most on the team. Sanchez is also the only active Eagle who appears in both the single season and career record book. As a freshman in 2009, Sanchez garnered 13 wins, which was enough to be included in the top 15 players in Eastern history in terms of single-season wins. In his career, Sanchez has compiled 28 total wins in singles play, which ranks eighth in the EWU career record book.

More on Cooper

Cooper had an impressive month on the basketball court, highlighted by Big Sky Player of the Week honors for games played Feb. 14 – Feb. 20. The award was the first weekly honor of her career and the first and only for Eastern Washington in the 2010-11 season. In addition to honors received during the month, Cooper was recently recognized for contributions made throughout the entire conference season, as she was selected as a member of the All-Big Sky Honorable Mention team.

In February, Cooper led the Eagles to four conference victories, including an important pair of wins at home against Northern Arizona (Feb. 17) and Weber State (Feb. 19), which clinched Eastern’s bid to the 2011 Big Sky Conference tournament. Cooper averaged 20.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists on the week. She shot 42 percent from the field, and made 17-of-20 free throws for 85 percent shooting from the line.

Against the Lumberjacks , Cooper scored a game-high 23 points - just one shy of her career high. She also had six rebounds, five assists and two steals. In Eastern's win over Weber State, Cooper scored 18 points, another game high, and had four rebounds, seven assists and two steals. She hit 8-of-10 free throws, and had just two turnovers in 33 minutes on the court.

Eastern’s five-foot point guard has been the anchor of EWU’s offense throughout the season, as well as a valuable defender. She is second in the Big Sky and 28th in the nation in assists, averaging 5.2 per game. She is tied for first in the league in steals (2.3/game) and her assist/turnover ratio of 1.9 is the best in the Big Sky. She is also among the top 20 scorers in the conference, and was the only player in the league to have had 20+ points, 10+ rebounds and 10+ assists at least once this season.

Coop’s play this year has also propelled her into the top 10 list in two categories of the EWU career record book. She has 170 total steals thus far in her career, which is third in the EWU record book. Sixty-six of those steals have come this season, which ranks third all-time at Eastern. Coop has 311 total assists in her career, which ranks ninth in the record book, while her 152 helpers this season is the seventh-best single-season performance in Eastern history.

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