b'A D V A N C E M E N TGDS ANNOUNCES NEWLY ENDOWED AWARD: The Mekia S. Valentine 06 AwardStanding at 64, Mekia Valentine 06with 50 blocked shots, the second-most in towered over the majority of her classmates.Wake Forest history. She transferred to the Though this was the first impression oneUniversity of California at Santa Barbara, might have, it was always her big smile andwhere as a junior in 2009-10, she averaged infectiously positive attitude that stayed with12.3 points and 9.7 rebounds. Her 4.0 blocks those who knew her best. She was respectedper game set a school record and ranked by her classmates, older and youngerthird in the nation. She received second-team students, and the faculty of Greensboro DayAll-Big West Conference honors and was School. also voted to the Big West All-Tournament team. She also made second-team all-league UCSB Womens Basketball Head Coachas a senior while averaging a double-double Lindsay Gottleib stated, Whatever pointsof 11.1 points and 11.2 rebounds with 3.7 or rebounds she accumulates, that willblocks. Her 347 rebounds that season set a never tell the story of Mekia Valentine, herschool record at the time. Mekia still holds competitiveness, and what she brings to theUCSB records for career rebound average table, she said. Above all else, she is an(10.5 per game), blocks in a game (11), absolutely outstanding young woman. power-forward coming out of high school.blocks in a season (120), and field-goal She accepted a scholarship to play basketballpercentage in both a season (.620) and a Her athletic prowess afforded her manyat Wake Forest University where she madecareer (.595). The New York Liberty selected opportunities and accomplishments. Shethe ACC All-Freshman Team in 2007 whileher in the third round of the 2011 WNBA was the nations #23 recruit and 3rd bestaveraging 5.9 points and 4.7 reboundsDraft. She opted to go overseas, however, and spent the next four years playing professional basketball in Israel, Poland, Romania and Germany.Mekia passed away on March 26, 2020, sending shockwaves through the GDS community. Classmates and former teachers were saddened by the news and were left to think back on so many positive memories. Her big heart and big smile will never be forgotten. Her friends only hope that she knew she was an even better person than she was a basketball player.Mandy Downes Laster 06, classmate and teammate of Mekia stated, Mekia and I were basketball teammates our junior year. I was the new kid and she was so kind and welcoming to me. The only one crazy enough to meet me in the gym at 6 a.m.! Her smile, outgoing personality, and contagious laugh could brighten anyones day. She was truly a 42 | Winter 2020'