ATLANTA - For the second straight year, Saint Xavier University junior forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) was selected by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) as a national finalist for the 2014 WBCA NAIA Player of the Year award when the list of finalists and the 2014 WBCA NAIA Coaches' All-America Team were released Tuesday evening. Stuut joins senior guard Nicole Ballestero from Vanguard University (Calif.) and senior guard Deonica McCormick from University of Mobile (Ala.) as national finalists.
The WBCA presents the player of the year award annually to the top player in each of the six WBCA membership divisions (NCAA Divisions II, III, NAIA, junior/community college and high school). The winner will be announced during the fourth annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 7, in the Omni Nashville Hotel's Broadway Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women's Final Four®.
Averaging 20.6 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, Stuut had an amazing season leading the entire NAIA in double-doubles with 25 and ranking among the top 15 nationally in seven different statistical categories, including points per game, rebounds per game, total assists (145), total steals (83) and total points (681). The two-time NAIA National Player of the Week and seven-time Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Player of the Week set or tied several school records during the season, which included points in a game (40), rebounds in a game (23), rebounds in a season (427) and points in a season (681). The two-time 2013-14 CCAC Player of the Year helped lead the Cougars to a 27-6 overall record, a share of the CCAC regular season crown, a No. 6 final national ranking and a berth in the NAIA Division II National Championship.
"The WBCA congratulates these student-athletes on being named finalists for the 2014 WBCA NAIA Player of the Year award," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "Nicole, Deonica and Morgan have helped guide their teams to exceptional seasons and are seeing their hard work and dedication to the game pay off. I wish each of these women good luck at the WBCA Awards Show in Nashville."
The 10-member team was selected by a vote of the selection committee. The committee is composed of one representative from each of the nine geographical regions and a chairperson. The members of the 2014 WBCA NAIA Coaches' All-America Team are as follows:
|Nicole Ballestero||Vanguard University||Senior||Guard||5'7"|
|Casey Davis||Roosevelt University||Senior||Guard||5'8"|
|Alli Engebretson||Northwestern College||Senior||Guard||5'9"|
|Tayla Foster||Bethel University (TN)||Junior||Forward||5'10"|
|Deonica McCormick||University Of Mobile||Senior||Guard||5'8"|
|Hayley Newby||Freed-Hardeman University||Junior||Forward||6'0"|
|Kelsie Sampson||Westmont College||Senior||Forward||6'1"|
|Sierra Shipley||John Brown University||Senior||Guard||5'9"|
|Morgan Stuut||Saint Xavier University||Junior||Forward||5'10"|
|Kourtney Tyra||Georgetown College||Senior||Guard||5'5"|
"The 10 members of the 2014 WBCA NAIA Coaches' All-America Team are well deserving of this honor and the WBCA congratulates them for their efforts this season," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "These young women have done an exceptional job of pushing the women's game to a new standard."