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Knight, Decker Named Top 10 Patty Kaz Finalists

Junior center Brianna Decker is a top 10 finalist for the Patty Kaz. Photo: Nicole Haase.
Junior center Brianna Decker is a top 10 finalist for the Patty Kaz. Photo: Nicole Haase.

Thursday morning the USA Hockey Foundation announced the top ten finalists for the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented by Easton Foundations. The award is handed out annually to the top player in women's college hockey.

As expected, Wisconsin was well represented this season. Junior center Brianna Decker, and senior center Hilary Knight were both named as top ten finalists today.

Wisconsin has dominated the award recently. Last season season Meghan Duggan from the Badgers won the award. Goaltender Jessie Vetter (2009), and forward Sara Bauer (2006) are the other two winners to wear a Wisconsin sweater.

It's the third season that Knight has been a top 10 finalist for the award. Knight was also a top ten finalist in her sophomore and junior seasons. The senior from Sun Valley, Idaho leads the nation with 8 game winning goals. Knight is the all time leading scorer for the prestigious University of Wisconsin program, and ranks fourth all-time in NCAA Division I women's hockey history with 258 career points.

Decker is a first time top ten finalist but has made headlines throughout her Badger career. The Dousman, Wiscosnin native leads the country in goals (35) and is second nationally in points (77). Decker has recorded an absurd 33 multi-point games this season for the Badgers including four hat-tricks.

The Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award is named in honor of the late Patty Kazmaier, who was a four-year varsity letter-winner and All-Ivy League defenseman at Princeton University from 1981-86. An accomplished athlete who helped lead the Tigers to the Ivy League Championship in three consecutive seasons (1981-84), Patty Kazmaier-Sandt died on Feb. 15, 1990, at the age of 28 following a long struggle with a rare blood disease.

The award selection process began in late February, when NCAA Division I women's ice hockey coaches were asked to nominate players for the award. Players who were nominated by two or more coaches were then placed on an official ballot, which was then sent back to the coaches to vote for the top 10 finalists. The independent accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, tabulated the ballots.

The three finalists, including the recipient of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, will be chosen by a 13-member selection committee comprised of NCAA Division I women's ice hockey coaches, representatives of the print and broadcast media, an at-large member and a representative of USA Hockey, the national governing body for the sport of ice hockey in the United States.

The three finalists for this year's award will be announced on March 8.

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