Paula Edwards made her presence felt in the AUAA Women’s Basketball League from her very first season.
A graduate of Oakwood Collegiate in Toronto, she arrived at UPEI in the fall of 1984 to join her sister, Sonya, who was already a Panther. By the end of that 84–85 rookie season, everyone knew there was another talented Edwards in town as she was named the AUAA Rookie of the Year and an AUAA All-Star, and finished among the top players in the league in scoring and rebounding.
Over the next four years, Paula continued to be one of the strongest players in the AUAA, leading the Panthers to AUAA championships in 1986–87 and 1988–89. She also received four more All-conference selections, a CIAU All-Canadian award, the Most Valuable Player award on her team, and two selections as UPEI’s Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year.
One of the highlights in her career came in the 1988–89 season, when she scored 18 second-half points as the Panthers defeated Dalhousie Tigers at Alumni Gym to win the AUAA crown. A week later they were at Laurentian University in Sudbury at the CIAUs, where they would lose the gold medal game to Calgary.
Over her five years at UPEI, Paula scored 918 points—a 13.7 points-per-game average. She had 616 rebounds—8.8 per game—and shot 48 per cent from the floor and 69 per cent from the foul line. In her final year, she led UPEI in scoring, and led the League in free throws made, defensive rebounds, and total rebounds. In earlier years she twice set season records for free throws made in a game and total rebounds in a game—19— vs. UNB in 1988–89.
Her coach, Dave (Hermie) MacNeill, says Paula had tremendous individual skills and was the “go to” person in pressure situations. She was the ultimate team player. If scoring was needed she did that; if rebounding was needed she did that. She was quite simply, says her coach, the best female player to play basketball here at UPEI.