Cameron earns first-year honors

Baily Cameron has achieved new milestones for John Brown University women’s basketball.

Cameron, guard for the University’s women’s basketball team, is the first freshman at the University to receive the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-America honorable mention for women’s basketball.

“I wasn’t actually expecting it at all, but I was really excited when I got it,” Cameron said. “It was pretty cool. I didn’t think I’d get it my freshman year.”

Cameron began practicing with her team this past summer. From the start, her teammates knew that she had the potential to succeed with the Golden Eagles.

“I thought she was a great basketball player,” Sofia Mendoza, forward, said. “She was quick, she was smart, she was strong. I thought she would do very well this year.”

Mendoza’s predictions came true on Nov. 2 when the Golden Eagles squared off against Arlington Baptist University at home in their season-opening match.

In that game, Cameron notched 18 points and four rebounds in her team’s 97-82 victory. This game kicked off a season in which Cameron led her team in points per game (13.2) and rebounds per game (7.2) and led the entire National College Athletics Association in field goal percentage (52.4).

Jeff Soderquist, coach of the women’s basketball team, mentioned that her biggest in-game moment came in a last minute upset over Wayland Baptist.

“There was a missed free throw, and Jana and Kimmy got the offensive rebound. They kicked it in to her, and she got it and scored very quickly,” Soderquist said of the Cameron. “That kind of sealed the game for us.”

Cameron received her award on March 24. In addition to her All-America honorable mention, Cameron also received the NAIA Freshman Of The Year award. In light of this award, Soderquist said that he is impressed  with how Cameron rose from the high school level of play to the level of competition that is required from college athletics.

“She’s fit in really well to our style of play and what we’re trying to do,” Soderquist said. “She’s done a good job coming in as a freshman and kind of being able to adjust to the speed and strength of the game. It’s a little bit different than high school, and that’s always a difficulty with most freshmen. But she’s done that quite well.”

Soderquist and Mendoza both attested to how they see Cameron becoming a leader for the Golden Eagles as she continues with her team. Soderquist pointed out that Cameron already leads by example and that she will begin to lead in other ways as she continues to play.

“One thing that will increase each year a little bit is not just leading by example but also by the things that she says,” Soderquist said.

While she enjoys her achievements, Cameron is not terribly concerned about earning awards. Her personal goals are team-oriented.

“In the next couple of years, we can go to the national championship, which would be pretty cool,” Cameron said. “Just keeping it going and getting better each year.”