ALEXANDRIA -- The LSUA women’s basketball team enjoyed its greatest season in program history this season, and for those efforts, six Generals were honored as All-Conference players, the Red River Athletic Conference office announced, led by two individual award winners.
Danyale Bayonne, a sophomore combo guard/forward from Pineville, La., was named the conference’s Newcomer of the Year and a member of the All-RRAC First Team. The transfer from Louisiana – Lafayette led the team in scoring this season, averaging 19.8 points per game while breaking the program’s single season scoring record with 496 points during the year. A 46.5% shooter throughout the season, Bayonne was also second on the team in rebounding, averaging 7.9 boards per contest, and had 11 blocked shots. She was twice named RRAC Player of the Week during the season and was also named to the RRAC’s All-Tournament Team following the RRAC Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament.
Kelsey Thaxton, a freshman guard from Many, La., was named the RRAC’s Freshman of the Year as well as a member of the All-RRAC First Team. Thaxton was the team’s second leading scorer on the year at 16.5 points per game as LSUA’s top deep threat, hitting a team high 90 three-pointers on the season on 37.7% from above the arc. Thaxton also averaged 4.5 rebounds per contest. The Negreet High alum and McDonald’s All-American nominee was also a two-time RRAC Player of the Week during the season, earning the award on back-to-back weeks.
Courtney Dawsey, a junior guard from Hammond, La., earned a spot on the All-RRAC Second Team. The Southeastern Louisiana transfer averaged 12.9 points per game, making the second most three-pointers and second most free throws for the Generals this season, while also distributing the ball well to end up second on the team in assists.
Brittany Hall, a junior guard from New Orleans, La., found her named listed among the All-RRAC Honorable Mentions. The Cowley County Community College transfer showed the definition of point guard during the season for LSUA, breaking the program’s single season assists record, averaging 6.5 assists per game, including a near single game record 17 dimes at Jarvis Christian.
Aja Law, a freshman forward from Florien, La., made an impact in her freshman campaign as well, solidifying the middle as a key reserve for the Generals on her way to being named an All-RRAC Honorable Mention. In her first collegiate action, the Florien High alum averaged 8.4 points and eight rebounds per game and was second on the team in double-doubles with three, trailing only Bayonne’s nine. Where she really made her mark was on the defensive end, where she led the team in blocked shots, with 23, which was also second most in a single season in program history.
E’Layzha Bates, a senior forward from Pensacola, Fla., was named to the RRAC’s Champions of Character team, which highlights the players whose impacts both on and off the court, help define the NAIA’s five core Champions of Character values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.
“These players accomplished a lot this year and certainly earned these accolades,” said LSUA head coach Bob Austin. “They came out all year long and worked hard and accomplished more this season than what has ever been done here at LSUA before. We certainly proved we have the talent and the ability to compete at a top level, not just in this conference, but with any team in the NAIA. I’m proud of each and every one of these players for what they accomplished this year, and see a lot of bright days ahead for LSUA women’s basketball.”
The Generals (21-7) finished the regular season with the second best record in the conference and now wait to see if enough was done to earn an at-large berth into the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship Tournament. LSUA will find out its fate when the NAIA announces the 32 team field with its bracket reveal show on Wednesday at 5:00 P.M. in the NAIA Facebook page. The NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament runs March 13th-19th at the Rimrock Arena in Billings, Montana.