Doug Self, Sports Information Director
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – The Great American Conference announced Wednesday their year-end awards, with SWOSU senior standout Hailey Tucker being selected as the GAC’s Female Athlete of the Year. The league’s Sports Information Directors voted on the Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards, but they could not vote for their own student-athletes.
Tucker becomes the first SWOSU student-athlete to claim one of the GAC’s Athlete of the Year awards and the first graduate from one of the conference’s Oklahoma institutions to be named the league’s Female Athlete of the Year. Tucker is just the second basketball player to claim the award and first since Arkansas Tech’s Roselis Silva in 2012-13.
“Hailey Tucker has epitomized the ideal Division II student-athlete during her time at SWOSU,” GAC Commissioner Will Prewitt said. “Her achievements on the court, in the classroom, and multiple ways in the Weatherford community have been incredible over the past four seasons. It’s been a lot of fun to watch her career and Hailey has certainly represented the Great American Conference exceptionally well. Congratulations to her for earning a professional contract and for being a deserving recipient of the GAC Female Athlete of the Year award.”
A native of Bartlesville, Tucker capped off her outstanding career at SWOSU by leading the Lady Bulldogs to an undefeated Great American Conference regular season championship – the first in league history. After becoming the first played in conference history to be a four-time First Team All-GAC selection, Tucker helped the Lady Bulldogs to the GAC Tournament Championship in her hometown and earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team for the fourth straight season. SWOSU would continue on and win the first Central Regional Championship in program history and advance to the Elite Eight, where victories over Saint Anselm and Indiana (Pa.) put the Lady Dawgs in the NCAA Division II National Championship game against Lubbock Christian. SWOSU finished the 2018-19 season with a record of 35-2, including an NCAA era school-record of 35 consecutive victories.
For her efforts, Tucker was named to three All-America teams, garnering a First Team selection by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), Second Team honor from the Division II Bulletin and a Third Team nod by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA). She was also named a Second Team Google Cloud Academic All-American® for the second straight season and she was chosen to All-Tournament Teams following the GAC Tournament, Central Regional Championship and the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. Tucker was named the GAC Player of the Week five times during the 2018-19 season and she shared SWOSU’s Female Athlete of the Year award with her teammate Hayden Priddy.
During the 2018-19 season, Tucker became the Great American Conference’s all-time leader in scoring and free throws made and she also graduates in the top five in conference history for three-point field goals made, rebounds, steals and blocked shots. For her career, Tucker is a three-time All-American, two-time GAC Player of the Year, 14-time GAC Player of the Week and a two-time USBWA National Player of the Week to go along with the 2018 Central Region Player of the Year and the 2016 GAC Freshman of the Year.
“I’m so thankful and blessed to receive the Great American Conference Female Athlete of the Year award. There were so many amazing nominees for this award and I’m very humbled to have been nominated,” Tucker said. “The GAC is one of the best conferences in Division II and I believe that every university in the conference proved that this year with all sports. I’ll forever be grateful to the GAC and to SWOSU for the best four years ever. Go Dawgs!”
Tucker graduated from SWOSU in May with a degree in Communications, but she will put her pursuit of becoming a Sideline Reporter on hold to continue her playing career at the next level. Last month, she signed her first professional contract with Visby Ladies in Sweden and she will report to her pro team in September. Tucker also remains a candidate for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year award, which recognizes graduating female college athletes who distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.