FRISCO, Texas – University of the Incarnate Word senior forward Celia Garcia Paunero was named the Southland Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday afternoon.
“We are very proud of Celia and her performance these past two games,” Head Coach Christy Smith said. “We are even more proud of the efforts this team has displayed to unselfishly work together, understand what is needed to win games and help Celia to be successful. This is a great group of young women who support one another and are thrilled to see one of their own rewarded!”
Garcia Paunero led the Cardinals to a pair of wins over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Sam Houston, averaging 23 points, 16 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.5 steals and 1.5 assists.
The Valladolid, Spain native scored 26 points and grabbed 12 boards against the Islanders, before turning in a 20-point, 20-rebound performance against the Bearkats. Both victories were program firsts for UIW. The Cardinals earned the first win in program history over A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday, and picked up the first win in program history over Sam Houston on Saturday.
Garcia Paunero shot 51.6 percent from the floor and 42.1 percent from three-point range over the week. She currently ranks first in the conference in rebounding and fifth in scoring.
Garcia Paunero’s effort against the Bearkats ensured that she will be the first UIW player in 26 years to average a double-double in a season. The last Cardinal to achieve the feat was Stephanie Wiatrek, who averaged 14.6 points and 11.0 rebounds over the 1990-91 campaign.
Monday’s announcement marks the second SLC Player of the Week nod for Garcia Paunero and third for UIW women’s basketball this season. Garcia Paunero garnered her first weekly honor on Jan. 23, joining teammate Haley Frias, who won the award on Dec. 28.
The Cardinals welcome Nicholls to San Antonio for a Senior Day battle at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
UIW travels to Abilene Christian on March 1 for a 5:30 p.m. rivalry matchup.
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