Fri. Apr 10th, 2020

The Lake Front

News for the students. By the students.

Saint cements themselves in OLLU history

Photo By: Dan Constantin, OLLU Sports Information Department

SAN ANTONIO – One Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) student-athlete continues to cement their legacy in the OLLU record books. This OLLU senior leaves it all on the court every game and every practice, she is relentless, aggressive and a leader to her teammates.

She is one of only 14 total members of the 1,000-point club. She owns the women’s all-time scoring record, owns the women’s single-game scoring record and part of the Fab Four team that went to the semifinals in last year’s NAIA National Tournament. Who is she? She is Kasey Saldana.

Photo by: Dan Constantin, OLLU Sports Information Department. Saldana shooting the ball

Feb. 6, Saldana cemented herself in the OLLU record books in a game against Texas College. Another record she can call her own and will only continue to add too until the end of the season. Saldana scored 23 points, only needing two to own the new women’s scoring record, which was previously held by Courtney Bayliss with 1,413 points. Saldana now has 1,435 points and the new women’s all-time scoring record. She has set the standard high and is not done yet with a few games left in the regular-season plus the post-season to add to her record total.

On Jan. 30, Saldana set the new women’s single-game scoring record with 38 points against Paul Quinn College. Saldana’s scoring milestone was a feat Saldana had been chasing after coming close to it in the past, so finally being able to do it was a tremendous accomplishment for her.

In her junior year at OLLU, Saldana joined an elite club of scorers, on March 16, 2019, during the NAIA National Championship tournament against Campbellsville University. Saldana entered the game needing only two points to reach 1,000 points, she scored 26 and enshrined herself as one of OLLU’s elites. Initially, when she scored her 1,000th point, she had to maintain her composure after reaching the milestone, about two minutes into the game, but after the game, she had an opportunity to reflect with her mom on the accomplishment.

“Man, not many people get to do this,” Saldana said. “Even at four-year universities, a lot of people don’t spend their full four years in one place yet alone are lucky enough not to get injured, so to do it in three years is pretty cool.”

Photo By: Dan Constantin, OLLU Sports Information Department. Pictured from right to left, OLLU President Diane Melby, Stephen Sherman, Kasey Saldana and Head Coach Stacy Stephens

“There are few players that work as hard as she does,” OLLU women’s Head Coach Stacy Stephens said. “For her to take that record, I think it is one of those things that’s like yeah that is what’s supposed to happen.”

Saldana began playing basketball at the young age of three years old after watching her big brother play. In the sixth grade, she began practicing with the seventh and eighth-graders. At that moment, it hit her that basketball was something she truly wanted to pursue and felt she could do something with it.

Growing up with an older brother that played basketball, Saldana was taught at a young age to be tough and physical when playing. Although her older brother did not always tell her directly, “I love you” when they were younger, Saldana was shown the love when he would share tips or make corrections to her game that would make her a better basketball player. Saldana, without hesitation, said her older brother Christopher was her favorite athlete growing up and was fortunate to build a strong bond with him through basketball.

Photo By: Dan Constantin, OLLU Sports Information Department. Saldana shooting.

Growing up, Saldana did not only play basketball, but she was also an avid volleyball player playing in a club league. However, after a string of events the summer leading into her seventh-grade year, she left club volleyball play to focus on basketball. She joined a girl’s club team associated with her brother’s club basketball team. She did play volleyball throughout middle school to be close with her friends, but her eighth-grade year would be her final year ever playing volleyball. Saldana focused on basketball from that moment on and played all four-years for O’Connor high school in Helotes, TX.

Saldana solidified herself in OLLU history as one of the top athletes ever to play for the university. Many may find this hard to believe with the numbers that Saldana puts up, but she was not highly recruited by colleges while in high school. Since coming to OLLU, Saldana has not only had success on the court but off it as well. Saldana’s hard work on the court helped her translate that sense of teamwork and work ethic to the classroom. Since her 2016-2017 freshman season, Saldana has received the Red River Conference Athletic Scholar-Athlete award for her exceptional work in the classroom. Saldana learned at a young age the importance of helping others, so during her freshman year, she became a biology tutor.

Although Saldana is in her final season playing basketball for the OLLU Saints, basketball is not something she can leave behind as it has been a pillar in her life. Saldana assists in coaching with the Spurs’ Summer Youth Basketball League working with the next generation of athletes. Saldana looks to continue coaching the younger generation after she graduates. A Biology major, Saldana will continue her education to get her Doctorate to become a Cardiologist, so you can expect to have Dr. Kasey Saldana M.D. in the coming years. Saldana chose to become a Cardiologist after losing her grandfather to heart complications.

The women’s basketball team looks to make another National Championship run in March after qualifying for the tournament in their win over the University of the Southwest Feb. 1.

Kasey Saldana’s Accolades:

  • NAIA All-America Award Honorable Mention: 2018-2019
  • Red River All-Conference Team (First Team): 2018-2019
  • Red River All-Tournament Team (First Team): 2018-2019
  • Red River Athletic Scholar-Athlete: 2016-2019
  • Saints 1,000-Point Club: 2018-2019 (1,024 points)
  • Saints Women’s Single-game scoring record (38): 2019-2020
  • Saints Women’s All-time scoring record (1,435): 2019-2020

Current Individual National NAIA Rankings:

  • Ranks Number in Division I in Free Throw Pct. (0.926)
  • Ranks Number in Division I in Total Scoring (388)
  • Ranks Number 17 in Division I in Total Steals (57)
  • Ranks Number 19 in Division I in Total 3-Pt FG Made (54)
  • Ranks Number 20 in Division I in Points per Game (16.870)
  • Ranks Number 25 in Division I in Steals per Game (2.478)
  • Ranks Number 35 in Division I in 3-Pt FG Made per Game (2.348)
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