Last week, Loras College senior point guard Brittney Cato (Chicago, Illinois/Latin HS) and head women's basketball coach Justin Heinzen learned that Cato is the 2013 recipient of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) Charles T. Stoner Law Award. The award, now bestowed on the 13th winner, is in the amount of $1,000. It is awarded annually to one senior female college basketball player who intends to pursue a career in law.
Cato, who is also a three-time member of the All-Iowa Conference Academic Team, plans to continue her education and is filling out applications for a handful of schools now. She took the LSAT in December and was happy with her results. As a Chicago native, she's leaning towards something in or near the Windy City.
"Coach Heinzen told me about the opportunity and helped me getting the resume and other documents together," Cato said.
"There was some time between the nomination and the announcement, so it took me a while for it to register when Coach (Heinzen) told me. It was kind of a shock."
Her involvement both on and off campus has been significant. Cato is a Resident Assistant (RA) on campus. She serves on the college's Diversity Committee in a social networking role, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (Director of Academic Alliance), and the Black Student Union (Vice President). Her internships have taken her to the Cook County State's Attorney Office and Intersport. She's volunteered at more than a half dozen organizations in Dubuque – including with Special Olympics.
When the English Literature and Spanish double major was asked about what portion of the law she'll be diving into, she cited a few possibilities.
"I would like to do sports and entertainment law or patent law, maybe intellectual properties - clients and their contracts," Cato said.
"The English Literature major and Spanish major has really helped me in writing and forming an argument and showing evidence to back it up. Classes that aren't in my major still have a critical thinking component – and that has helped a lot, especially in my preparation for the LSAT," Cato points out.
"It was a huge advantage."
Loras has one regular season game left on Saturday at University of Dubuque and have locked up a spot in the 2013 Iowa Conference basketball tournament. Final seeding will be determined on Saturday – as both teams are currently sporting identical 17-6, 7-6 IIAC records.
"Basketball has really helped keep me organized," Cato says.
"It keeps me focused. It is a big time commitment and can be hard, but I've benefited from it over the last four years."
Cato estimates 75-80 hours spent doing homework on the bus over the course of her Duhawk basketball career.
Her final regular season home game was last Saturday, and it was an opportunity to reflect on her career and spend time with her parents, who often alternate coming to games individually to coordinate with work schedules, but were able to attend together for Senior Day.
"Senior Day was fun," Cato admitted. "Both of my parents were able to get here, and it was the first time they've been able to do that this year. They've always been to as many games as they can, especially when we've been able to get into the Chicago area."
"It is hard to fathom how fast it has gone by, but the last four years have just been great with my teammates and coaches," she added.
As this year's recipient, Cato will be in New Orleans in early April for the WBCA Awards Luncheon at the organization's annual convention to accept her award. New Orleans, Louisiana is the site of this year's NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship and the convention.