STEPHENVILLE – It only took one year of Division I basketball for Iyana Dorsey and Marissa Escamilla to announce themselves as among the Western Athletic Conference’s best.
That much was confirmed on Monday, when both players received Honorable Mention All-WAC honors as announced by conference officials and voted on by head coaches.
It marks the first time either player has received an all-conference accolade. Both Dorsey and Escamilla either led the conference in or were ranked inside the top-10 in several major statistical categories.
Dorsey put together a historic freshman offensive season. The 5-6 guard finished with the best free throw percentage (83.6) in the WAC and her 54 made 3-point field goals were the most of any player. Dorsey’s 344 total points scored were the most by a freshman in the Misty Wilson era and the conference. She ranked third in the WAC in cumulative scoring and sixth in points per game (13.5).
“I am extremely proud of Iyana for earning honorable mention in the WAC,” Wilson said. “She was in her first year as a college basketball player, playing a position she was not comfortable in and still found a way to make her name known in this conference. More importantly is the maturation process that she made as the season progressed. We look for her to be in the running for more awards in the future.”
Escamilla, a 5-9 forward, quickly established herself as one of the conference’s premier post players. The junior led Tarleton in scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg) and snagged the most offensive rebounds (59) of any player in the WAC. She ranked fourth in the conference in rebounds per game and fifth in points per game. Escamilla’s 70.1 free throw percentage was ninth-best among conference peers.
“I am not sure any other player is more deserving of recognition from this conference than Marissa,” Wilson said. “She went into every conference game undersized by 2-to-6 inches and stood tall. She worked extremely hard in the offseason to get herself to where she needed to be physically and skill-wise to compete in this conference and it was on display often.
“Amazingly, the year she had was with mediocre health,” Wilson continued. “We look forward to getting her healthy in the offseason and seeing how she will continue to improve and be an even bigger threat to opponents next year.”
Dorsey was one of only three freshmen to receive All-WAC honors. She capped her debut season in Purple in White by averaging 21 points per game in a weekend split vs. UTRGV on Friday and Saturday. Her 22 points scored on Friday were a career-high. Dorsey scored in double-digits in 21 of Tarleton’s 25 ballgames and eclipsed the 15-point threshold on 13 occasions.
Her Texan debut was one to remember. Dorsey poured in 18 points in Tarleton’s first Division I contest at North Texas on Nov. 25, which were the most points scored in a season-opener since 2014 and the most by a freshman under Wilson in a season-opening game.
Dorsey’s growth as a primary ballhandler was on display when she dished out a single-game and career-high nine assists to help stake Tarleton to a 79-63 win at UTRGV on Jan. 27. The triumph snapped a seven-game losing streak and was Tarleton’s first true Division I win and victory over a WAC opponent. Her 57 assists were the most of any Texan.
She was a thorn in the side of opposing guards. Dorsey led Tarleton with 47 steals and swiped the ball away three-or-more times in eight games. She recorded a team and career-high five steals in Tarleton’s first official WAC victory in a 64-56 win over Chicago State on Feb. 13.
Escamilla found her footing in the frontcourt once conference play began. She averaged 15.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in contests vs. WAC foes. She recorded double-doubles in five of Tarleton’s 15 games against conference opponents. The Burnet, Texas native closed out the 2020-21 season with double-doubles in three of Tarleton’s final four games.
She led Tarleton with three 20-point games. Her 24 points scored in Tarleton’s 61-41 win at Chicago State on Feb. 14 were the most in a single-game by any Texan this season. Escamilla previously set a career-high in points scored with a 23-point, eight-rebound performance at Grand Canyon on Feb. 1 and amassed 22 points along with 10 boards on Friday vs. UTRGV.
Escamilla is Tarleton’s active leader in career double-doubles (eight) 10-point games (33), 10-rebound games (eight), offensive rebounds (131), total rebounds (338) and points scored (614).
Tarleton wrapped up its first Division I season with a 63-52 home victory over UTRGV on Saturday to finish with a 9-17 overall record and 4-10 mark in conference play.