Arizona Women's Basketball

Sam Thomas earns Arizona’s first Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year honor

Information from the Arizona media relations department contributed to this report.

Arizona senior forward Sam Thomas has been named the school’s first Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year in school history, the conference announced on Thursday.

The award, which is presented in each of the 24 sports the Pac-12 sponsors, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes who are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline.

Thomas carries a 4.00 grade-point average (GPA) while pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership after completing her undergraduate studies with a 3.97 GPA.

Sam Thomas (Andy Morales/

She was a candidate for the 2020-21 Senior CLASS Award, which annually recognizes NCAA Division I senior student-athletes who excel in the areas of community, classroom, character and competition.

Off the court, Thomas has served as co-president of the Arizona Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), earned Pac-12 Winter Academic Honor Roll recognition in 2020 and was a Pac-12 All-Academic and CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team recipient in 2019.

On the court, Thomas received All-Pac-12 and All-Defensive Team accolades after averaging 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.3 blocks through the regular season. She is the only player in the Pac-12 to average at least two steals and one block per game and is shooting 53 percent from 3-point range in her last eight games.

With a start tonight against Washington State in the Pac-12 tournament, she will match Dee-Dee Wheeler (2001-05) for the second-most starts in program history with 118. Davellyn Whyte (2009-13) holds the record of 126 starts.

Thomas is the career leader in blocks among all active Pac-12 players with 160. No other player has 100 blocks. She is only six blocked shots shy of matching Ify Ibekwe (2008-10) with 166 blocks for No. 2 in program history. The late Shawntinice Polk (2003-05) has the school record at 222. 

Thomas is also sixth in program history with 161 made 3-point shots in her career.

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