by Drury Athletics
Drury University women’s basketball forward Hailey Diestelkamp has been named a finalist for the NCAA-II Honda Athlete of the Year in women’s sports. She becomes one of 11 finalists for the prestigious award that will be voted on at the end of the academic year by national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of THE Collegiate Women Sports Association program, now in its 43rd year.
Diestelkamp was named the NCAA-II Player of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association after leading the Lady Panthers to a 35-1 record, an undefeated regular season, a national semifinals appearance, the Midwest Regional championship, and the Great Lakes Valley Conference title.
“This is an awesome opportunity, and I am completely blessed,” Diestlekamp said. “I would like to thank my family, teammates, coaches, boosters, fans and everyone else who has supported me along this incredible journey. I would not be where I am today without any of them.”
Diestelkamp averaged 21.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.3 steals per game last season. The junior from Owensville, Missouri was also named an NCAA-II All-American by the WBCA, was a unanimous First Team All-GLVC pick, and was the Most Valuable Player of the GLVC tournament as well as the NCAA-II Midwest Regional tournament.
Diestelkamp set Drury’s all-time rebounding record last season as a junior and has 865 career boards. She also set Lady Panthers records in single-season scoring with 758 points and in single-season rebounds with 316. She had 14 double-doubles last season and produced the program’s first-ever triple-double with a 21-point, 14-rebound, 10-steal performance against Indianapolis on Jan. 10.
“I’m thrilled for Hailey to be recognized and nominated for the most prestigious award in NCAA-II women’s sports,” said head coach Molly Miller. “It is a testament of her hard work and dedication to the sport. She is a great player but also a great person, and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to coach her, watch her grow, and to be a part of her life.
“I also would like to thank the WBCA for their recognition of Hailey and to THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards and Honda for their promotion of women’s athletics through the Honda Awards.”
All Honda Sports nominees from DII and DIII become a finalist for the prestigious 2019 Honda Athlete of the Year in their respective divisions, presented in a live telecast on CBS Sports on June 24, 2019, in downtown Los Angeles. The Honda Sports nominees are recognized in 11 DII and DIII NCAA-sanctioned sports; cross country, basketball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball, and track & field.
THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 43 years, recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence, and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.
Diestelkamp’s nomination for the award marks the second straight year Drury has produced a finalist for the honor. Last year women’s swimmer Bailee Nunn was nominated for the award. Former Missouri State women’s basketball player Jackie Stiles won the honor at the Division I level following her senior season in 2001.