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Samuelson named Gatorade's national player of the year
SANTA ANA - The national player of year club at Mater Dei welcomed a new member Thursday.
Senior Katie Lou Samuelson, who received the Naismith, Morgan Wooten and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association national awards in recent weeks, added the Gatorade National Player of the Year award to her collection.
Samuelson joins Tia Bollinger-Meza (softball, 1999-00), Matt Barkley (football, 2007-08), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (girls basketball, 2010-11) as Mater Dei athletes to receive the award.
“I found out right before this assembly,” Samuelson said. “I walked into the locker room, my team was there, a bunch of cameras, and Elena (Delle Donne, of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky) was holding the trophy and I was just in shock. It was awesome.”
A formal announcement was made in the Meruelo Athletic Center in front of the school’s senior class.
Samuelson, a two-time state player of the year who has signed with Connecticut, is averaging 30 points and 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals a game this season. Mater Dei has an overall record of 87-7 in her three seasons on the team.
She transferred from Edison to Mater Dei before her sophomore season along with her sister, Karlie, who is now at Stanford. She has another older sister, Bonnie, who also played at Edison and is now at Stanford.
“Transferring here has helped me become a way better basketball player than I could have ever imagined,” Samuelson said. “These past few years here have been amazing.”
Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan spoke of Samuelson’s growth as a player over the past three years.
“She’s really developed her leadership skills,” Kiernan said. “She came (to Mater Dei) with her sister, and the last two years, she’s been on her own. That was a big adjustment for her because she’s always had them (her sisters) on the court when things went wrong.
“She’s always been good. She’s been a great player the last three years. … She’s gotten stronger physically and she’s developed so much off the court leadership-wise, and that’s what’s going to help her next year at UConn.”
Jon Samuelson said of his daughter: “She’s always seemed to love the game and worked really hard and she really enjoys playing. She’s always had a great attitude towards playing.”
Samuelson and the Monarchs will face Chaminade of West Hills in the CIF SoCal Open Division Regional final Saturday at 6 p.m. at Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State. The teams have met twice this season with Chaminade winning both times by one point.
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