SOU women land three on all-star picks
The Southern Oregon University women's basketball team received more All-Cascade Conference nods than anyone else when the list was released Tuesday morning by the league office.
Senior forward Alexi Smith, junior point guard Ashley Claussen and junior forward Carly Meister were voted onto the 12-person all-conference team, and senior guard Kristen Schoenherr garnered honorable mention.
The eighth-ranked Raiders (26-4 overall), who already have more wins than all but three teams in program history, will learn their fate Wednesday as they await word on an at-large bid to the NAIA Championships, which run March 11-17 in Sioux City, Iowa. A tournament berth would be their first since 2009.
An offense built on balance made for a lot of love to go around on the all-star list.
Smith — a 6-foot product of Bakersfield, Calif., whose soft scoring touch helped her get honorable mention during her junior season in 2012-13 — tied for tops in the league at 15.2 points per game during CCC play, ranked fourth with a field-goal percentage of 50.2 and seventh with seven rebounds an outing. She was also among the league leaders in free-throw percentage (82.1) and blocked shots (0.8). She's scored in double figures 22 times this season and recently hit a career-high with 29 on Feb. 21 against Concordia.
Claussen has established herself as one of the most all-around dangerous players in the CCC. Through the first 10 games of the season she averaged 5.8 points, but that number jumped to 12.8 during conference play to rank ninth. The Scotts Valley, Calif., native ranked second in assists (5.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9-to-1), fourth in 3-point percentage (41.7) and eighth in free-throw percentage (82.1). She's more than doubled her total 3-point makes (53) from last season, hitting four or more seven times over the last two months.
Meister, a 6-2 power player from Elma, Wash., is a repeated on the team and also the CCC freshman of the year two seasons ago. Her numbers dipped slightly as SOU added two pieces to help her inside (Smith, who was out last year, and freshman Courtney West (Sydney, Australia/Port Hacking)), but she still managed to rank 12th in scoring (12.1 points), sixth in rebounding (7.1), eighth in blocks (1.1) and first in field-goal percentage (57.0) during CCC action. She's recorded three double-doubles, giving her 16 in three seasons, and helped the Raiders out-rebound every opponent this season.
Schoenherr, who made the All-CCC team last season, also sacrificed some of her scoring but ranked among the CCC leaders in several categories regardless. She was 17th in points (11.1), 18th in rebounds (5.5), 11th in assists (3.1), 11th in steals (1.5), first in 3-point percentage (55.3), 12th in field-goal percentage (44.4) and 15th in free-throw percentage (75.0). She's scored in double figures 18 times, including four of the last five games.
Corban senior Tara Van Weerdhuizen (13.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.1 blocks) was named the CCC Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year. Eastern Oregon's Maya Ah You was the Freshman of the Year.
The Coach of the Year was Eastern Oregon's Anji Weissenfluh, whose Mountaineers earned an automatic bid to the national tournament by winning the CCC regular-season title. Oregon Tech earned the other automatic for upsetting EOU in Monday's tournament championship game.