NAME: Sandra Carroll (Class of 2020-21)
SPORT: Women's basketball
YEARS ACTIVE: 1991-95
Three-time CIS Player of the Year (1993, '94, '95)
Three-time CIS national champion (1993, '94, '95)
Two-time CIS national tournament MVP (1994, '95)
Part of Winnipeg's 88-game unbeaten streak
One of the finest university women's basketball players in Canadian history, Sandra Carroll was a dominant force for the Winnipeg Wesmen during the first half of the 1990s.
Carroll, who joined the Wesmen for the 1991-92 season, was a prolific scorer in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, leading a Winnipeg team that would win three national titles during her time with the program (1993, 1994, 1995). Carroll was twice named national tournament MVP (1994 & 1995), as the John Taylor Collegiate product played a starring role on a powerhouse Wesmen team that went on a remarkable 88-game winning streak from October 1992 to December 1994.
The Winnipeg product joined the Wesmen in 1991, setting in motion four years of hardcourt excellence. Carroll added to what was already one of the nation's premier programs, and was an Academic All-Canadian four times.
"I remember talking to coach (Tom Kendall) and he said something to me like 'You know, if you're going to be our main scorer next year, you're going to have to do this, that and whatever.' And I'm thinking 'What? You're thinking I'm going to be the main scorer next year? Are you nuts?' I maybe averaged one point per game or something in my first year and I barely played," Carroll told the Winnipeg Free Press about the prospect of taking on a bigger role with the Wesmen in her second season.
Not only did Carroll take on the role as Winnipeg's star player in 1992-93, she thrived.
"We had a few tournaments at the beginning of the year. The first tournament we had I played really well and I was named the MVP of that tournament," Carroll recalled.
"I remember I won a pair of shoes and I was so happy about that. But I thought 'Oh geez, I feel like I'm an imposter. They're going to find out that I'm not this big MVP player.' I really felt that I was pretending I was this big player. One of the things that coach always said was to fake until you make it. Pretend you're like that and eventually, you will be. It sort of turned out that way."
Over the next three seasons, no one was deemed better than Carroll in Canadian women's university basketball, as the Wesmen star was named the Nan Copp Award winner as the nation's top player three consecutive seasons.
"It was a really special group of people. No egos. We all just fit together perfectly for those years we were there together. I feel really grateful to be a part of that and even to just bring women sports a little more to the front," Carroll said of those remarkable years at Winnipeg.
"It's something very, very special and something I'll always remember. It defines your life a little bit, or it has for me. That becomes a part of who you are moving forward in life. It was something that was a real benefit to everyone involved."
After capping off her university career with a third consecutive national title in the spring of 1995, Carroll went onto a lengthy pro career in Germany, where she continued to show her scoring prowess, leading the 1st Bundesliga in scoring during the 2007 season.
Carroll, who was already a member of the Canada West Hall of Fame as part of the dynasty Wesmen, is also an inductee into both the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame.
In March of 2020, Carroll was named as one of the top U SPORTS women's basketball players of the last century.
Written by Evan Daum