Add one more accolade to the docket for Eastern Oregon standout Maya Ah You-Dias.
The sixth-year senior was named NAIA women’s basketball national player of the year Thursday at the conclusion of a season where she helped the Mountaineers win 29 games, claim a third consecutive Cascade Collegiate Conference championship and reach the second round of the NAIA national tournament.
“I was honestly really shocked,” she said. “There’s great players in the nation. To be recognized as one of the top ones was crazy to grasp. I couldn’t really believe it.”
Ah You-Dias played in the final 24 games of the season for the Mountaineers, and helped the team, which was on a seven-game winning streak prior to her return, reach another level. She finished with averages of 23.2 points per game and 9.0 rebounds per game, both of which led the team.
But they were just a fraction of the areas Ah You-Dias stuffed the stat sheet. The senior led the Mountaineers in 13 different categories, ranging from minutes per game (31.0) to steals per game (2.0) to field goal percentage (.535) to 3-point percentage (.443).
“It’s unreal to me,” she said of the numbers she posted. “Looking back, I had a season that I didn’t think I could do. It’s rewarding to have (the) season that I did.”
She was never held under double digits in scoring this season, and dating to last season scored at least 10 points in 35 of her last 36 games. She eclipsed 30 points in a game six times and twice reached more than 40, including a program-record 45-point effort in a win at Northwest (Washington) on Feb. 1.
It’s the second time Ah You-Dias has been named a first-team all-American after also accomplishing the feat a year ago.
Eastern Oregon finished the season a week ago with a 61-57 loss to Indiana Tech in the second round of the national tournament, finishing 29-4 overall. It was the final game of a six-year run in the program for Ah You-Dias, who redshirted her freshman year in 2013-14. An injury forced her to sit out for the entirety of the 2015-16 season, but she was granted a second redshirt for this season, which allowed her one more year in an EOU uniform.
Injuries, in fact, have been a commonality for Ah You-Dias since high school. All told, she said she’s worked through three torn ACLs — two in the left knee — “five or six” MCL tears, meniscus injuries and “four major surgeries” for her ACLs.
“Just my love for the game,” she said of what kept her going through the myriad of setbacks. “I worked really hard to get to where I’m at. I’ve played basketball since I was 7. The thought of not playing because of injury didn’t occur to me.”
In her six years, she was part of the program during a stretch where the team went 160-39. The last three years of that run, with her as a primary catalyst on the team, were arguably the best in program history. EOU turned in a mark of 90-12, won three straight CCC regular season and conference tournament titles, reached nationals all three times and matched its deepest run at the national tournament, when it went to the final eight in 2016-17. The team in that three year run also went 57-3 in CCC play — 66-3 when counting the conference tournament — and was a perfect 42-0 at home.
She said if the right opportunity arose, she would consider playing past college, but for now she is satisfied with how her career ended.”
“It’s an amazing honor,” she said of the award. “(I’m) happy I could bring this award to our conference and, most importantly, our university.”
Ah You-Dias was joined on the national award stage by Jordan May of the Eastern Oregon men’s basketball team, who was an honorable mention NAIA recipient.
The sophomore led Eastern, which finished with a record of 15-15 overall, by averaging 20 points per game. He also led the team in field goals made (193) and attempted (455), 3-pointers made (80) and attempted (222) and free throws made (75).