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ALL-NWADG BASKETBALL: Bentonville's Dauda towers to top girls player

by Henry Apple | March 28, 2020 at 1:00 a.m.
Fayetteville vs Bentonville Girls Varsity Basketball - Maryam Dauda (30) drives to the basket for two points against Fayetteville at Tiger Arena in Bentonville, Ark., on Friday, February 14, 2020.

With the height advantage Maryam Dauda enjoys over a majority of high school basketball players, she could have easily stationed herself near the basket and elected to score the easy points.

Bentonville High's 6-foot-4 junior post, however, viewed things a little differently. If the Lady Tigers were going to make a return trip to the Class 6A state championship game, Dauda knew there was more for her to do than just pick up points in the paint.

Her improvements to all facets of her game this season made Dauda the choice as the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's player of the year for its Division I team, which consists of players from Class 6A and 5A schools.

"I was able to have a great season by working and playing hard," Dauda said. "Coming into the season, I wanted to be a more efficient offensive player and have a huge impact on this team.

"I also wanted to be the leader this team needed, so I spent a lot of time in the gym. I also concentrated on being more vocal on the floor and helping out my teammates when I could."

Dauda's height gives her an edge as far as rebounds and blocked shots are concerned, but those numbers actually fell this season as she averaged 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. She made up for it on the offensive end, where she raised her scoring average to 16.6 points per game -- more than 4 points per game than she averaged last year.

Her scoring included a respectable 20 of 48 shooting (41.7 percent) from 3-point range -- compared to 0 for 8 from beyond the arc a season ago -- and she hit an impressive 92 of 114 (80.7 percent) from the free-throw line. Dauda also set two school single-game records when she hit 14 field goals and scored 36 points in a Bentonville victory over Conway in December.

What makes Dauda's accomplishments stand out more is she only averaged 21.4 minutes -- slightly more than 2 1/2 quarters -- per game.

"I was really impressed with her free-throw shooting, and she had the ability to knock down some timely free throws," Bentonville coach Tom Halbmaier said. "That gave her the sense that her overall game had improved, and a lot of the 3-pointers she hit were in transition. She would get down the floor, then go wide and spot-up so she could be ready to shoot.

"And you look at the games we've played, there were only seven games where Maryam played all four quarters. She had that ability to raise her game in those close games, and she stayed out of foul trouble. She did a great job of not picking up that third and fourth foul in the first half."

Dauda had already rewritten every blocked shot category in Bentonville's record book in her freshman year, but she reached a couple of milestones this year. She scored her 1,000th career point in a victory during a victory at home against Fayetteville, and she became the school's career leader in rebounds during the Lady Tigers' victory over Conway in the Class 6A State Tournament semifinals.

"Getting my 1,000th point against Fayetteville will be something to remember," Dauda said. "Because I was able to do it in my junior year, that makes it feel really good."

Meanwhile, Halbmaier was the NWADG sports staff's choice for its Division I Coach of the Year honors.

Bentonville coach Tom Halbmaier was named by the Division I girls basketball coach of the year by the NWADG sports staff.
Bentonville coach Tom Halbmaier was named by the Division I girls basketball coach of the year by the NWADG sports staff.

Halbmaier, who just completed his 19th season as Bentonville's head coach, led the Lady Tigers to a 27-1 mark -- the best run in school history. That included a 14-0 run through the 6A-West Conference schedule and a second straight trip to the Class 6A State Tournament championship game, which may not be played after all sports were suspended as of March 13.

"It was definitely a great season," Halbmaier said. "I had a great staff, great managers and great players. All of that made my job a lot easier. All I had to do was focus on coaching and not worry about there being any drama or personality problems on the team. Our girls were focused and had that common goal of getting back to a state championship."

FILE -- Springdale Har-Ber freshman Pacious Mcdaniel (33) drives towards the basket, with Van Buren Sophomore Brooklyn Kannady (2) trying to defend at Wildcat Arena on Friday, February 21, 2020.
(Special to NWA Democrat-Gazette/David Beach)
FILE -- Springdale Har-Ber freshman Pacious Mcdaniel (33) drives towards the basket, with Van Buren Sophomore Brooklyn Kannady (2) trying to defend at Wildcat Arena on Friday, February 21, 2020. (Special to NWA Democrat-Gazette/David Beach)

Newcomer of the Year honors for this team goes to Springdale Har-Ber freshman Pacious McDaniel, who played a vital role as the Lady Wildcats earned a trip to the Class 6A state tournament. The 5-foot-8 forward earned all-state honors and was named to the 6A-West's all-defensive team while averaging 13.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.

Har-Ber coach Kimberly Jenkins said she never thought twice about McDaniel's move to the varsity team, and Har-Ber immediately reaped benefits from it.

"We saw how competitive she was from the moment we moved the ninth-graders in here during the offseason," Jenkins said. "She didn't care if she was going up against a sophomore, a junior or a senior. She was going to get up in somebody's face on defense, and she wanted to win every drill we ran. I felt like she was going to be a great addition to the team.

"She raised everybody's level of play when she's on the court, and she's a contagious kind of kid. Once she got to know people, she became one of the vocal leaders on our bus. She would even reach out and say our team prayers. It was fun to see her blossom as a player, and I can't wait to see what lies ahead."

Player of the Year

Maryam Dauda^Bentonville^6-4^Sr.

Earned all-state honors and named the 6A-West’s outstanding player after averaging 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots per game.

Newcomer of the Year

Pacious McDaniel^Springdale Har-Ber^5-8^Fr.

Averaged 13.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game and earned all-state honors, as well as named to the 6A-West’s defensive team.

Coach of the Year

Tom Halbmaier^Bentonville

Guided the Lady Tigers to the best record in school history and a second straight trip to the Class 6A championship game.

First Team

Tracy Bershers^FS Northside^6-0^Jr.

All-state performer averaged 15.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Recent verbal commit to Oklahoma State.

Caylan Coons^Springdale Har-Ber^5-8^So.

Led the Lady Wildcats with an average of 15.8 points, 4.3 rebounds per game, earned all-state honors.

Kinley Fisher^Greenwood^5-7^Jr.

Averaged 18.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists per game and earned all-state honors.

Sasha Goforth^Fayetteville^6-0^Sr.

Oregon State signee earned all-state honors after she averaged 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

Jersey Wolfenbarger^FS Northside^6-4^Jr.

All-state player led the Lady Bears with an average of 18.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists per game.

Second Team

Coriah Beck^Fayetteville^5-8^Sr.

Memphis signee averaged 13.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs and was named an all-state player.

Jailin Glass^Greenwood^5-11^Sr.

Named to the Class 6A all-state team after she averaged 10.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.

Bella Irlenborn^Bentonville^6-1^Sr.

All-state player who averaged 7.4 points, 6.6 rebounds per game and credited with her job on the Lady Tigers’ baseline defense.

Lydia Mann^Alma^5-9^Fr.

Earned all-state honors after averaging 16.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, a year after she missed the entire season because of knee surgery.

Alex Pabon^Rogers Heritage^6-1^Sr.

Averaged 11.8 points, 6.2 rebounds per game for resurging Lady War Eagles team and earned all-conference honors.


Class 6A

Maryam Dauda^Bentonville

Bella Irlenborn^Bentonville

Natalie Smith^Bentonville

Tierra Trotter^Bryant

Shy Christopher^Cabot

Chloe Clardy^Conway

Jada Pickens^Conway

Coriah Beck^Fayetteville

Claudia Bridges^Fayetteville

Sasha Goforth^Fayetteville

Caylan Koons^Har-Ber

Pacious McDaniel^Har-Ber

Amavri Williams^North Little Rock

Tracey Bershers^FS Northside

Jazzlyn Coleman^FS Northside

Jersey Wolfenbarger^FS Northside

Class 5A

Lydia Mann^Alma

Madelyn Atkins^Beebe

Rhema Riley^Benton

Kinley Fisher^Greenwood

Jaelin Glass^Greenwood

Jaylia Reed^Hot Springs

DaKariya Jackson^Jacksonville

Brooklyn Roland^Jacksonville

Ereauna Hardaway^Jonesboro

Destiny Salary^Jonesboro

Tia Mullenix^Lake Hamilton

Aspen Thorton^Lake Hamilton

Hayleigh Wyrich^Lake Hamilton

Chloe Porter^Hot Springs Lakeside

Maddie Trustyz^Hot Springs Lakeside

Yasmin Ott^Little Rock Christian

Wynter Rogers^Little Rock Christian

Kennedi Bopkins^Maumelle

Anna Grace Foreman^Mountain Home

Kate Gilbert^Mountain Home

Elauna Eaton^Nettleton

Briley Pena^Nettleton

Jasmine Davis^LR Parkview

Tyra Robinson^LR Parkview

Cassidy Henry^Sheridan

Jianna Morris^Sylvan Hills

Paige Kelley^Vilonia

Lauren Patterson^Vilonia

KyAria Ginger^Watson Chapel

Taylor Whitted^Watson Chapel

Aryah Hazley^West Memphis

Janiyah Tucker^West Memphis

Sports on 03/28/2020

Print Headline: Bentonville's Dauda towers to top girls player


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