Rotorua's Taki Te Koi has been named female athlete of the year at her American university, capping off a successful four years on a basketball scholarship.
The former Rotorua Girls High head girl has been studying and playing basketball at Dominican University of California since 2008. She made an immediate impression, being named freshman of the year in her first season before going on to captain the side for the past two years.
After a knee injury in January 2011 kept her out of the game for seven months, Te Koi returned to start 17 of her side's last 18 games in this season's NCAA Division Two Pacific West Conference, scoring a career-high 20 points in her final match in March.
The 22-year-old senior said winning the athlete of the year award was a massive honour.
"Athletics in general is a big deal round here," she said. "To be honoured like that is an awesome closing to my time here."
A versatile shooting guard, Te Koi was her team's top three-point shooter this season and averaged 7.6 points per game.
"I can play an outside and inside game which has worked to my benefit for getting court time," she said. "I am only 5ft 9in (1.75m) so am posting up against girls over six foot. I really have to use my body effectively to compete."
Next week Te Koi will graduate with a science and biology degree in front of about 20 family members, who are travelling over for the first time. She hopes to get a job in America, otherwise she will head home to pursue a career as a physical therapist.
Her long-held aim of playing for the New Zealand Tall Ferns is also still very much on her mind.
"I want to be an Olympian. I have missed out this year but I am still setting my sights on that goal," she said.
Along with family, Te Koi credits her Rotorua Girls High coach and mentor Ngaire Lee for much of her success. "She still makes regular trips to see how I am going. I wouldn't be in the position I am if it wasn't for her."