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The University of California, Merced women's basketball team enjoyed another successful season this year, ultimately coming away with their third straight California Pacific Conference championship. In addition to that regular season and conference postseason success, the Bobcats then traveled to Sioux City, Iowa and gave the number one team in the country a huge scare in the NAIA National Championship Tournament, taking them to double overtime. It put the Bobcats into the national spotlight in a way they've never been featured before. As it would turn out, it would be the first of two times UC Merced women's basketball has been put into the national spotlight in a new way this season.
After wrapping up her stellar career with a third conference championship, Courtney Danna accomplished something no other Bobcat in the history of UC Merced athletics has ever accomplished: being named an NAIA All-American for the second time.
"Being a two-time Honorable Mention All-American is honestly a dream come true for me as an athlete. I couldn't ask a better way to finish my career," Danna said upon receiving the news.
Danna wrapped up her career with another stellar year, averaging 11 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals while shooting 38% from both two-point and three-point range. The Bobcat guard finished ranked number one in UC Merced women's basketball history in assists and steals, and finished second all-time in points.
As any leader would, Danna was quick to thank everyone involved in her career, from teammates to coaches all the way to trainers.
"I have to thank each and every player from the past four years because I believe that every person you play with has an impact on your game and the player you become," Danna reflected. "I would have to say winning the All-American was more rewarding this year due to the fact that my role on the court was a little different. Some people might not know this, but I considered red shirting after the death of my grandmother and my car accident, but I decided to push through and finish my last year with this team. It was probably one of the best decisions that I have made and I wouldn't have wanted to finish my college career with any other group of women. I am so honored to have played with these ladies and as I said last year, I would have never received this accolade if it weren't for my team. It is a team award and I am just happy that this program is getting the recognition and respect it deserves."
Danna's second recognition becomes the sixth time a Bobcat has earned the status of All-American. Danna has two of those recognitions while Desiree Coles, Andy Galvan, Cody Golbad, and Aki Chambers make up the other four.
"We are only a 5-year program that has gone to nationals for the past three years," Danna said proudly. "That is amazing and I am humbled to be a part of those accomplishments. I am so grateful for my family, coaching staff, & supporters who never gave up their faith in us as we rose to the top from being the underdogs. Most importantly, though, I'm so grateful for this team that I call my family. Thank you for making me a better person off the court and for pushing me to be a better athlete on the court."