Coach Dan Waldeck’s excitement over learning that members of his starting front court had been named NAIA All-Americans was matched by another interest.
“I’m glad I get to coach them for years to come,” said Waldeck after Master’s freshman Stephanie Soares and sophomore Anika Neuman were among the year-end award winners released by the NAIA on Thursday morning.
Soares, who led the nation in rebounding, blocked shots and double-doubles, was a first team selection. It was the first time since 2013-14 that Master’s had a first teamer, and the fourth time in program history.
Sophomore Anika Neuman was an honorable mention for NAIA All-American.
Neuman was an honorable mention after shooting 37% from beyond the arc and averaging 18 points in three national tournament games, when the Mustangs made it to the quarterfinals for the second time in program history.
“They were able to handle the focus of opposing defenses each and every night,” said Waldeck. “They’re game-changers and culture-shapers.”
Soares had arguably the biggest impact on the program of any freshman ever. Highly touted before stepping on campus, the 6-foot-6 center from Sao Paulo, Brazil, more than delivered.
She blocked a program-record 10 shots in her first collegiate game. She scored 29 points in her fourth game. For the season, Soares averaged 16.2 points, 13.4 rebounds and 4.9 blocks — with 29 double-doubles in 35 games.
Her 173 blocks were 20 shy of matching TMU’s career record, set by Bianca Cubello from 2013 to 2017.
There was growth, too.
Waldeck says Soares improved her toughness, playmaking ability away from the rim and her perimeter shot making. “And a mentality that desired the pressure of the moment,” he said of the GSAC’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
Soares was the second freshman to be named the conference’s Player of the Year in the last 30 seasons.
“Most freshmen don’t have the poise and confidence she plays with,” said Neuman. “She was consistent in every game, and I’m so proud of her.”
Soares’ presence allowed Neuman to slide from the five to her more natural four position, a spot that utilized her versatile skill set.
Neuman averaged 10.8 points and 4.2 rebounds. She made a team-best 83% of her free throws and knocked down 49 three-pointers — 36 more than last season.
“I knew she’d thrive (at the four),” Waldeck said, “but I think her improvement defensively and in her perimeter shot making blew me away. I think she’s only scratching the surface of her potential. The national tourney was just a taste of what I think we’ll see over the next two years.”
Neuman scored 19 points in each of TMU’s first two national tournament games this month before tossing in 16 points against eventual national champion Montana Western in the quarters. She led Master’s in scoring in each game.
“(Being an All-American) is something I definitely desired and something coach told me I was capable of,” Neuman said. “But that wasn’t ultimately my end goal. I just worked hard everyday and did what I could to improve and I guess it paid off.”
LANCASTER – The Lancaster JetHawks opened their final series of the First Half with a bang, beating Inland Empire, 13-6, in front of a sellout crowd of 4,769 at The Hangar Wednesday night. The JetHawks set season-highs with 18 hits and nine extra-base hits.
Runners of all ages will have the opportunity to support the College of the Canyons cross country and track & field programs by participating in the 46th Annual Cross Country Summer Series on Thursday evenings from July 11 - Aug. 15.
A Bridgeport couple has uncovered some disheartening news for motorists who grind to a halt as they zip through Valencia, braking for a family of Canada geese, narrowly avoiding a collision with the large birds.
The Santa Clarita City Council and MADD recognized Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s deputies Chris Morgan, Tanner Sanchez and Mario Acosta Tuesday for their major role in helping keep local streets safe from drunken drivers.
The city of Santa Clarita’s homeless population increased from 156 people in 2018 to 256 people in 2019, according to city-level data from the 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count released Friday by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
American Coaster Enthusiasts, the world’s largest roller coaster enthusiasts club with more than 5,000 members, will hold their 42nd annual Coaster Con at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm from Sunday-Thursday, June 16-20.
No more wondering what to do on Friday nights because Friday will be opening night as the sounds of live Jazz and Blues bands once again fill its new location at 24250 Town Center Drive outside the Westfield Valencia Town Center.
%d bloggers like this:
SCVTV Media Center
22505 14th Street Unit E
Santa Clarita, Calif. 91321