March 6, 2012 > All-CCAA women's 2012 basketball team announced
All-CCAA women's 2012 basketball team announced
Submitted By Kelly Hayes
Photos By Kelley Cox/KLC Fotos
On the heels of its first ever CCAA Tournament appearance, the Cal State University, East Bay (CSUEB) women's basketball team saw Micah Walker recognized as the conference Freshman of the Year and Marlene MacMillan collect All-CCAA Second Team honors. The pair became the second and third Pioneer women's basketball players to be honored by the conference after helping guide the team to its first playoff appearance since the 2007-08 campaign.
"Mac and Micah were great leaders for this program and their performances throughout the year allowed their teammates to grow as well," said Head Coach Suzy Barcomb. "A sign of a quality teammate is that they are selfless; neither cared who got the stats; they just wanted the program to move into the next phase of rebuilding. They both committed to that and I truly believe CSUEB has taken one giant step towards becoming a contender in the CCAA."
Walker averaged 9.1 points per game during her rookie campaign to finish second on the team. The Reno, Nevada, native led the team in assists, dishing out an average of two per game, while adding 3.5 rebounds per contest. Walker finished off the season strongly, scoring double figures in four of the last six games to bring her season total to 11 games in which she scored 10 or more points. She also notched 11 games with three or more assists and grabbed four or more rebounds 16 times during the campaign.
"We knew we had something special with Micah and she did not disappoint," Barcomb said. "She is a true competitor, wants what is best for the team and is willing to put in the extra work to improve her overall game."
A regular starter, Walker played in all but one game during her first season in the red and black, starting 26 times, including each of the last 23 games. Walker posted a season high of 23 points in a loss to No. 1 UC San Diego on February 18, 2012, going 4-for-8 from three-point range and adding four rebounds in the game. Her five assists in the February 11, 53-51 upset over then No. 22 Cal Poly Pomona set a season high, while her seven rebounds in the Pioneers' first meeting with the Broncos in January 2012 were also a season best.
"The first year has so many ups and downs; Micah weathered the storm well and had some tremendous all-around games for us this year," Barcomb said. "I am really proud of her and this accomplishment."
MacMillan earned her first All-CCAA honors after leading the team with 9.2 points per game and ranking third in the league in rebounding with 9.3 boards per game. A native of Tracy, MacMillan also posted the second-best field goal percentage on the team, hitting 47.1 percent of her shots from the floor to rank among the top 10 in the CCAA, while her 1.7 assists per game were also second on the team. The junior forward was also a force to be reckoned with on defense, helping the Pioneers finish second in the scoring defense in with her 0.9 blocks per game, which were fifth in the CCAA.
"Mac has played with a fairly significant injury this entire season and for her to put up the rebounding numbers she did was pretty amazing," Barcomb said. "She has been a warrior for us on the glass and the growth in her overall game has been consistent throughout the year."
During her best season as a Pioneer, MacMillan set a new career high in rebounding with 19 boards in a win over San Francisco State in January 2012. MacMillan also beat her previous scoring high, posting 25 points in a 67-59 win over Cal State Stanislaus on January 21, 2012. She also finished the season with seven double-doubles, ranking third in the CCAA and was the only East Bay player to start every game, averaging a team-leading 30.5 minutes per game.
"I had high goals for Mac this season and she bought in to what we wanted from her on the court and as a leader and truly had a positive impact on this team," Barcomb said. "I asked a great deal of her this year, asked her to really expand her game. She can become a truly dynamic player both offensively and defensively."
Walker's Freshman of the Year award marks the fourth such honor given to a Cal State East Bay player since the Pioneers joined the CCAA in the 2009-10 season. Walker joins men's basketball player Jacari Whitfield, also a 2012 honoree, teammate Lauren Lucchesi and baseball player Charlie Sharrer as CCAA Freshman of the Year recipients and makes women's basketball the only East Bay team to have freshman players earn two of the awards. Whitfield and Walker are the first Pioneer duo in program history to sweep the conference Freshman of the Year award at any level and Cal State East Bay is the first school in CCAA history to claim both awards in basketball in the same year. MacMillan also became the first Pioneer women's basketball player to collect All-CCAA recognition.
Cal State East Bay capped an historic season with its first CCAA Tournament selection in its first year of eligibility for the postseason since completing the transition to Division II. Barcomb collected her 250th career win with a 46-41 win over San Francisco State on February 10, 2012. East Bay finished the season ranked among the top defenses in the CCAA, leading the league in rebounding defense (33.9 rpg) and ranking second in scoring defense (58.6 ppg). The Pioneers finished with their best record (12-17, 9-13 CCAA) since the 2007-08 campaign, recording double-digit wins and finishing in a tie for seventh in the conference.