JoAnne Wells came to the University of Winnipeg women’s basketball program straight from Bedford, a small town in Nova Scotia. Over the past five years, JoAnne has developed both academically and athletically. She has changed from a small town girl into one of the best players in the CIS without losing her hometown values.
This season, the 22-year old, 6-foot guard, led the Wesmen to a 17-3 regular season record, claiming the Canada West Great Plains season title. She also had her best individual campaign as she led the CIS in scoring and free-throw percentage, averaging 24.2 points per game while shooting a staggering 90.6% from the charity stripe.
The fifth-year arts student and co-captain was named a CIS first team All-Canadian for the third straight season, was the MVP of the Canada West conference, but more importantly she earned her fifth consecutive CIS Academic All-Canadian award for maintaining a GPA of 80% or higher.
One of her most impressive accomplishments for the year was winning the Nan Copp Player of the Year award, an honor that represents the best female basketball player in the country. JoAnne became only the second Wesmen player to ever receive the prestigious award.
Unfortunately, after falling to undefeated Simon Fraser University at this year’s CIS championships, Wells and her teammates were unable to capture the coveted Bronze Baby trophy. JoAnne and the Wesmen have made it to the Nationals 4 years in a row, but have come up short each time, earning two bronze and two silver medals.
In the five years that JoAnne has played for the Wesmen she has experienced many changes in her style of play, including the continuous development of her game, which has sculpted her into one of the most feared players in the CIS.
“I think I have improved every part of my game from my first year,” Wells says. “The jump from high school to university is a big one and over the years I have tried to develop different parts of my game, whether it was developing my left hand, my defense, or my shot, and it’s all really come together.”
This year, JoAnne was not only relied upon for her skill but also for her leadership. With such a big responsibility being placed on her shoulders, Wells is careful on how she goes about being a leader.
“I try to lead by example, showing my teammates how hard you have to work on and off the court. I like being visible in the weight room, always doing my workouts as well as pushing them in practice.” In addition to her skills on the court, JoAnne is one of the nicest players you can meet and her teammates are quick to point that out.
“She is one of the most humble basketball players I have seen. A lot of athletes, when they are at the level of play that she’s at, have a walk or a swagger, but JoAnne is not like that at all. She comes out every game and works her butt off to do what she has to do to help the team win,” said teammate Stefanie Timmersman.
Now that her university career has come to an end, JoAnne hopes to take her style of play and showcase it at the next level. With such a winning attitude and a desire for the game, not to mention CIS-leading stats, she should have no problem in doing just that.