Bulletin Staff Report
RICHARDSON — With multiple national player of the year honors and a national championship on her resumé, former Howard Payne Lady Jacket Meia Daniels added her second straight American Southwest Conference female athlete of the year honor to her list of collegiate credentials.
Daniels was selected as the 2007-08 ASC Women’s Athlete of the Year, the league office announced on Monday after a vote of the ASC’s sports information directors and outstanding media service award members.
A political science major from Keller Fossil Ridge High School, Daniels captured the ASC’s top female award in 2006-07 and became just the third student-athlete to be honored in back-to-back seasons.
In March, Daniels led Howard Payne to the NCAA Division III women’s basketball national championship — the first team national title from any sport in the 12-year history of the ASC, and the first at the NCAA level for HPU.
The All-American point guard fueled the Lady Jackets’ perfect 33-0 mark as Howard Payne was the only collegiate men’s or women’s basketball team to post an undefeated record.
Daniels was named NCAA Division III national player of the year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, Texas Basketball Coaches Association and D3hoops.com. She also was named Most Valuable Player of the Final Four and ranked third in the nation individually in steals with 145.
Daniels averaged 19.6 points per game in her senior season — scoring an ASC single-season high of 649 points — and passed 2,100 points in her career as a Lady Jacket. She played for three ASC championship teams over her four seasons and earned a tryout with the WNBA’s Orlando Dream. Daniels is also a finalist for the 2008 Honda Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.
The American Southwest Conference Athlete of the Year award, in its ninth year, recognizes the male and female student-athlete whose athletic accomplishments best contributed to their sport, their institution’s overall athletic program and to the conference. Each ASC member institution nominates its campus Athlete of the Year award recipients to the conference-wide ballot.
UMHB’s Freeman named
ASC male athlete of year
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor senior football player Jerrell Freeman has been selected as the 2007-08 ASC Male Athlete of the Year.
Freeman (Waco University High School) becomes the sixth student-athlete from UMHB to take the annual award — the second straight and fourth different football player, joining 2006-07 winner Josh Kubiak, ASC Hall of Honor member Preston Meyer (2002-03) and Cody Fredenburg (2003-04).
UMHB basketball player Robert Moore (2000-01, 2001-02) and golfer Holly Glover (2004-05) also won top conference honors.
Freeman, a criminal justice major, became the first ASC player to win national player of the year honors from D3football.com in the 2007 season. Freeman also was named All-American by four different publications and was voted ASC Defensive Player of the Year as the leading tackler on the conference’s top-rated defense.
He helped lead the Crusaders to the league championship and also helped UMHB become the first ASC program to twice reach the national semifinals.
Freeman finished the season with 112 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and seven pass break-ups. He also forced three fumbles and blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. He finished his career as UMHB’s career leader in tackles and played for three ASC title teams and four NCAA Division III playoff qualifiers.
Freeman signed a free agent contract with the Tennessee Titans in April, becoming the first UMHB player to sign an NFL contract.