Big time player steps up

Story by HANNAH McLEOD
Photo by LEFTRICK HERD

Grit. Determination. Heart.

Those three words describe Pima Community College women’s basketball forward Deanna Daniels.

Standing just 5 feet 10 inches tall, Daniels is usually outsized by her opponents but is rarely outplayed. During games, she attacks the hoop for rebounds and dives on the floor for loose balls. She is continually involved.

“With her lack of size, she makes up with the size of her heart,” PCC head coach Todd Holthaus said.

Daniels leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 18.25 points and 13.25 rebounds per game.

Those stats compare favorably to two-time All-American Tia Morrison, who played on last year’s Pima squad and now plays at UNLV.

“Tia had the physical attributes,” Holthaus said. “Deanna has a motor that doesn’t stop.”

Daniels began this season as the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Division II Player of the Week.

Last year, the Las Vegas native played at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah. At Dixie State, she was chosen for the All-Pac West First Team and was named the Pacific West Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the week.

At the end of her freshman year, Daniels decided she wanted to play somewhere else.

“My teammate, Jessie Ingraham, had played at Pima before she came to Dixie State,” Daniels said. “She suggested me playing at Pima.”

Daniels took her teammate’s advice and called head coach Holthaus. Not long after, she became a Pima Aztec.

“It was nerve-racking,” Daniels said. “We were both going off of what we had heard of each other.”

Holthaus had never seen Daniels play, but decided to give her an Aztec uniform after hearing about how she played and looking up some stats.

“It was more like she recruited us,” Holthaus said. “She is more of a gift than anything.”

Daniels said she has really liked being at PCC and having Holthaus as a head coach.

“He focuses on fundamentals,” she said. “He knows how to calm you but also when to be aggressive and yell.”

Deanna Daniels

Being ranked No. 3 in the nation and making friends in Tucson has been a highlight for Daniels this season.

“We have so much passion and heart,” she said. “No matter the odds against us, we always give a team a run for their money.”

As the PCC women’s basketball team heads into the playoffs, Daniels shared the key to the team’s success.

“We need to be confident, stick together and not give up,” she said.

Three words that describe Daniels will also help the Aztecs as they head into the postseason.

Grit. Determination. Heart.

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