Deer named Sun Belt Player of the Year

Photo by Gerald Castillo

Texas State Women's Basketball

Following a 21-8 overall, 14-4 Sun Belt season, the conference announced two Bobcats were honored for their performance during the 2018 season.

Representing Texas State as Sun Belt honorees are senior guard Taeler Deer and junior guard Toshua Leavitt, who each drove the offensive production opponents struggled to keep up with all season. Deer was awarded Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, while Leavitt earned Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference accolades.

The senior is only the third Texas State women’s basketball player to be named the conference player of the year in school history. She is also the 11th player to be selected as a First Team All-Conference player. Leavitt goes down as the third Bobcat to ever make the Second Team All-Conference team.

“At the beginning of the season we were picked fifth overall and had three preseason all-conference picks,” head coach Zenarae Antoine said in a statement. “As our regular season ends we have two all-conference picks, of which is player of the year and we finished in second place. Some would say our team over achieved, but our team has always had vision of finishing the regular season as a contender. Finishing in the top-three in 1 of the 21 Sun Belt statistical categories speaks to the hard work and dedication that our student athletes have put in.”

Deer’s season began with an impressive 44-point showing in Texas State’s season opener against Texas Tech. She is one of two guards to amass 1,000 career points while also recording at least 400 assists. As the ball handler, the senior led the Bobcats to their second-highest scoring mark in the Sun Belt with 71.4 points per game as a team. Deer contributed double digit points for 24 of the 29 Bobcat games this year and broke the single season record of assists in school history with 187.

“Taeler Deer receiving Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year is not only an honor for Taeler, but it is an honor for Texas State University and our program.” Antoine said in a statement. “Taeler is a team first player and it is not a mistake that she led the Sun Belt in assists and was ranked nationally as well. It is a great day to be a Bobcat.”

With the season coming to its close, Leavitt is on pace to break the NCAA 3-point record. She has hit 125 3s so far, only four away from the season record of 129. Leavitt has already set the Texas State record with ease as she passed the previous mark of 82 held by Joyce Ekworomadu. The junior also broke the Sun Belt mark of 115.

Leavitt now owns Texas State’s record for most 3s made in one game. She hit 10 3-pointers in two separate games this season. With 242 3-pointers, Leavitt is the only Bobcats, male or female, to make at least 200 career 3s. The junior closed the regular season scoring 18.3 points per game and recorded 20 points in 11 times in 2017-18 season. 

“Toshua has evolved over the course of the season both on and off the floor,” Antoine said. “It is awesome to see her efforts recognized. She is one of the premier shooters in the country who finished as the regular season second leading scorer and is the current NCAA leader in season 3-point shots made this season.”

Texas State earned the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Bobcats will take on the winner of No. 7 Coastal Carolina and No. 10 Georgia State at 5 p.m. on March 8 in New Orleans. The Chanticleers and Panthers will play at 5 p.m. on March 6 for the right to take on the Bobcats.

San Marcos Daily Record

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