Autumn Durand began establishing herself as a model of consistency from the moment she arrived at Southern Oregon University as a freshman in 2013, playing and guarding multiple positions and affecting the game with a variety of skills.
In her new role as the Raiders' go-to option this season, Durand has not disappointed. On Tuesday, she was named the Cascade Collegiate Conference Player of the Year in a vote by the league's coaches, becoming the eighth individual to receive the accolade in SOU women's hoops history.
The product of Onalaska, Wash., headed a 12-person All-CCC team that included her teammate, senior forward Sydney Mullings. Two more Raider seniors, point guard Demi Sahlinger and wing Tiani Bradford, received honorable mention.
The sixth-ranked Raiders (27-4 overall), who won a share of their second consecutive regular-season CCC title, have qualified automatically for the NAIA Division II Championships and are currently awaiting their draw. The 32-team bracket will be announced Wednesday, and the tournament takes place March 8-14 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Eastern Oregon, which defeated SOU on Monday for the conference tournament title and was the other regular season co-champ, had the coach of the year in Anji Weissenfluh and the defensive player of the year in Donniesha Webber. Walla Walla's Alyssa Blankenship was voted freshman of the year.
Durand, now a two-time all-star, was the clear choice for the POY nod after ranking among the league leaders in seven major statistical categories: points (16.8, 1st), rebounds (7.7, 3rd), blocked shots (0.7, 9th), steals (1.8, 12th), field-goal percentage (51.5, 5th), free-throw percentage (80.6, 3rd) and 3-point percentage (33.0, 15th). She's recorded nine double-doubles, scored more than 20 points six times, hit double-figure point totals in 29 of 31 games and averaged double figures for the fourth year in a row.
Having started 128 of SOU's 131 games since her arrival, Durand is up to 1,575 career points and 790 rebounds – ranking third and sixth, respectively, in the Raider record book.
Mullings, another versatile talent who transferred to SOU prior to last season, ranks 10th in the CCC in points (12.4), eighth in rebounds (6.6), third in field-goal accuracy (56.4), seven in steals (2.0) and seventh in blocks (1.0). She's been at her best in the latter half of the season: Since the start of January, she's averaged 14.9 points on 59-percent shooting, and before that she was posting 9.5 points per game.
Bradford, another one of the most well-rounded players in the league, this year has posted career-highs in points (10.5, 21st CCC), rebounds (5.4, 19th), assists (3.6, 4th) and steals (2.3, 4th). She's also ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8-to-1. First on that list, and first in the NAIA, is Demi Sahlinger (4.6), whose 4.3 assists per game are second-best in the CCC. The point guard has also improved her shooting percentage (46.2) by nearly nine points compared to last season, averaging a career-best 7.5 points per game.