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Player Turns Heads in NAIA, RRAC
Photo: Amber Arceneaux-FrancisAmber Arceneaux-Francis, a senior forward on the University of St. Thomas women’s basketball team, is making headlines in the Red River Athletic Conference and the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics. Arceneaux-Francis was honored as Player of the Week for both NAIA Division I and RRAC and for the week of Dec. 31 to Jan. 6.

"It’s a great honor,” Arceneaux-Francis said. “First and foremost, I would like to thank my mother, Coach Ricks and teammates for believing in me. All the hard work my team and I put in on and off the court is finally starting to pay off, and we're not going to stop now. We have a goal we're trying to pursue, and we won't stop until we get there."

For the NAIA, Arceneaux-Francis is the first honoree of the 2012-13 season. Shewas selected based on her performances from Dec. 31 to Jan. 6 and was chosen out of a pool of conference and unaffiliated group winners.

In the RRAC, Arceneaux-Francis shares her second Player of the Week nod with AlieshaCarruthers of Wiley College. Arceneaux-Francis was awarded Player of the Week this season for Nov. 26-Dec. 2.

Arceneaux-Francis, a native of Houston, Texas, tallied a pair of double-doubles to lead the Celts to a combo of victories against Northwood University, 93-54, on Jan. 3 and Southwestern Assemblies of GodUniversity, 77-56, on Jan. 5. The senior forward converted 21 of34 field goals and 17of22 free throws en route toa29.5 points per game average. She also ended the week averaging 15.5 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and four steals per game.

"I can't say enough about what Amber has meant to the growth of our basketball program,” Head Coach Mike Ricks said. “She has played at such a high level all season long, and it's great for her and our program that she has been recognized at a national level. The only words I can think of to describe her season: All-American."

Against Northwood, Arceneaux-Francis led St. Thomas with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while ranking second in the box score with six assists. She wrapped up her stellar weekagainst SAGU with 36 points and 21 rebounds, eight offensive and 13 defensive, which were both career highs.

An NAIA press release said Arceneaux-Francis has emerged as a force for the Celts this season, ranking among the top 10 nationally in rebounds per game with12, offensive rebounds per game with4.8, points per game with20.1, total rebounds with168, total scoring with281, defensive rebounds per game with 7.2, and steals per game with 3.4.

UST moved to 4-3 in the RRAC and 7-7 on the season.

Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Todd Smith said the team is beginning to play together and understand roles, and Amber is the focal point of the team.

“It is incredibly exciting for Amber, the team and our athletic department,” Smith said. “St. Thomas is getting noticed across the country for excellent student athletes.”

The Celts will play Langston University on the road at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 10. The game will be broadcast live on Premier Sports Network. View the game live at 5:30 p.m. on

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