Last week, Varsity Blues basketball star Jill Stratton was named to her third Ontario University Athletics (OUA) first team all-star selection.

“Its an honour to be selected as an OUA first team all-star. This year was a bit different than the previous years, as the all–star teams were selected from the entire OUA as opposed to being separated into the East and West,” says Stratton.

The OUA hosts 18 teams for women’s basketball. Having been recognized as one of the top players in the entire OUA league is an outstanding accomplishment for Stratton, making her the only player in U of T’s history to be selected for the all–star game three times.

Earlier this season while facing the York University Lions, Stratton passed Alaine Hutton as the top leading scorer in U of T women’s basketball history, finishing her career with 1,245 points through 96 regular season games. Making this feat even more impressive is her ability to break this record while missing a significant part of her third season due to an injury.

Unexpectedly, the  guard’s biggest strength is not putting points on the board. Despite being a guard, Stratton rebounds at a high level as well.

Stratton began playing in Etobicoke, Ontario. She attests the basketball program at her high school, Etobicoke C.I. to have prepared her for a stellar basketball career at U of T.

During the time that she played for ECI, the talent level in the GTA was tremendously high. Despite the competition, Stratton was named MVP for three consecutive years. She was also named MVP on the cross-country and track and field teams.

“Being a long distance runner would prove to be useful in basketball, as I found myself playing a high number of minutes per game.  It also taught me how to push myself until exhaustion,” says Stratton.

As a terrific all-around player, Stratton’s mentality on the court focuses on moving the ball around and making plays that are best for the team.

After her rookie season, the team lost many key players. At this point, it became important for Stratton to take up a leadership role on the team.

Despite being such a prolific and proven scorer, Stratton also leads the team this season with 54 steals and 59 assists. Meanwhile, her career high in points is 30. In the OUA Stratton finished in third, seventh, and tenth place in rebounding, scoring, and assists, respectively.

“Scoring was never really my biggest strength or my number one priority so it came as a surprise to me that I was even close to becoming U of T’s all time scoring leader,” says Stratton.

“When I get on the court, I just try to make the play that is best for my team, whether it be passing or looking to score,” she says.

Stratton’s final game in a Varsity Blues jersey took place when the Blues travelled to Windsor to take on the Lancers in OUA quarter-final action. The Blues fell short in a 64–49 loss. Stratton’s final stat line included 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

As Stratton’s undergraduate career at U of T comes to an end, her basketball career will not.

“Next year I am hoping to go play pro overseas. I’m not ready to give up basketball just yet so I’m hoping that works out,” says Stratton as she graduates with a kinesiology degree.

“I don’t really have a backup plan, so as of now that’s my goal,” says Stratton.