By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director
To hear Stephanie Soares and Brooke Bailey discuss Soares’ selection as the NAIA Division 1 National Player of the Week on Tuesday was something like basketball’s give-and-go.
Soares dished praise to her teammates, and Bailey sent it right back.
“I’m so grateful for all my teammates and the support they’ve been giving me,” Soares said. “I couldn’t do it without them.”
Said Bailey, “That is such an amazing accomplishment as a freshman. We are all so excited and so thrilled for her. She deserves it completely. She works so hard, and to see that paying off is awesome.”
Soares, who was also named the Golden State Athletic Conference Player of the Week on Monday, averaged 21.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks in two matchups against NAIA Top 25 teams last week.
The Mustangs beat No. 24 William Jessup 69-59 on Thursday behind Soares’ career-high 30 points. She added 12 rebounds and eight blocks.
Then Soares recorded her 12th double-double of the season two days later in a 65-21 win over No. 11 Menlo College at TMU.
Soares is averaging 17.2 points a game and leads NAIA D1 in blocked shots with 93, but she says there are still areas of her game that need improving.
“My shooting, working on my shots outside the key,” she said. “I’m still working on my posting up and being able to finish and on doing a better job of playing help defense.”
Soares said it has been an adjustment learning to guard opponents who at times are considerably shorter than she is.
“I have to be quicker on defense to play one-on-one with them,” she said.
The No. 21-ranked Mustangs host No. 15 Westmont at TMU on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.