Returning to Canada to complete her post-secondary education proved to be a wise decision for Lee Anna Osei.
The fifth-year student and basketball player was recently honoured with the Wilfrid Laurier University’s Outstanding Woman Award.
One of three nominees, Osei is the second consecutive woman hoops player to receive the honour.
“This is something I will remember for the rest of my life,” said the history major and point guard, who also coaches young players and created a website, Get Recruited Canada, that’s aimed at promoting and endorsing female athletes across the country. “Laurier is very big on academics and athletics and combining that kind of love and passion for both fields with support from my teammates and professors create an environment that is conducive to success.”
Peter Baxter, the university’s athletics & recreation director, said Osei embodies everything the award represents.
“Over her three years with the Golden Hawks, she has excelled on the court, in the classroom and in the community and is a very deserving recipient of this honour,” he said.
Transferring from Emily Carr Secondary School in Woodbridge to Eastern Commerce Collegiate, where she graduated as a four-time honour roll student and the school’s all-time assists leader was the first step in a journey that saw her attend two American universities and make a commitment to another before coming back home.
With enormous visibility on her high school team that won back-to-back provincial titles, Osei attracted scholarship offers from St. John’s University and Cornell University in New York and the University of Miami, which she chose.
An injury-plagued rookie season in which she was diagnosed with compartment syndrome ended with the Canadian transferring to Trinity Valley Community College in Texas, where several of her Eastern Commerce teammates were playing.
Despite a foot fracture suffered in conference play, Osei contributed to the team finishing second in the country. After one season, she was contemplating moving again – this time to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh – when it dawned on the student-athlete that home might be the best place for her at that stage in her career.
Her brother, who graduated from Wilfrid Laurier and was a chartered accountant, was hoping that his sister would attend his alma mater. She did and he died suddenly in August 2012 after she was accepted.
In her three seasons with the university’s basketball team, Osei set the team record for the most assists in a season with 98 in 2013 and finished her career with 217 assists, third most in the school’s history.
The two-time Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Academic All-Canadian was an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) second-team all-star in her final season and an OUA nominee for the Joy Bellinger Award, presented to the student-athlete who excels in academics, athletics and community service.
The Laurier Outstanding Woman Award was launched nine years ago to recognize female students who combine athletic and academic achievement with an active commitment to community volunteerism.