Hendrix’s Sara Dyslin, who achieves a double-double almost every time she dons her basketball uniform, will reach a special one this weekend,
Friday, when the Warriors take on Trinity in the first round of an NCAA Division 3 basketball regional at Richardson, Texas, Dyslin will have participated in NCAA national tournaments as a member of a conference champion in both volleyball and basketball the same season. The Southern Athletic Association Player of the Year , a junior, is an both an All-American and academic All-American in both sports for two straight years.
On and off the the court, the California native is into quadruples.
"It’s gotta be some kind of record," laughs Heather Prowse, about her friend, fellow pre-med student and teammate as the duo helped lead the Warriors to the SAA tourney title and automatic NCAA berth last weekend.
"It’s been crazy all year being part of both teams," Dyslin said. "But it was also a lot different. The style of play was different."
"In volleyball (an SAA champion and NCAA qualifier two years in a row), we had a huge team and we had been building over time and had had success (reaching the national finals in 2015 and we knew we had something special," she said. "Basketball, we had been building, too, but you couldn’t see it. In basketball, we had low numbers and we have just been grinding all year."
With the nine-player roster, the Hendrix women have won nine of their last 10 games.
"It was rough for a little while," she said. "Once, we started clicking, we clicked. We have great chemistry, the best it has ever been. In that way, the small roster may have been an advantage because everyone has to contribute and they have."
"Hardship helped us pull together," Prowse said. "We used that to our advantage. It’s just a great feeling."
Dyslin, 6-0, is averaging 17.8 and 12.2 rebounds per game with 18 double-doubles in 28 games.
"She’s a physically gifted athlete but she works as hard as anyone and she has good instincts on both the offensive and defensive sides of the game," said coach Drew Gaeng. "She plays with her head as well as her body. She finishes well and she does a good job finishing despite contact."
"I think I have a good eye to where the ball is going," she said. "Sometimes, in rebounding it’s easy to forget that the important thing is the ball. I don’t know, I guess I’ve always had a feel for getting the ball. Overall, I think I’ve gotten so much better with my basketball skills."
Has her volleyball experience helped?
"Probably," she said. "As a blocker, you have to constantly see where the ball is. You have to learn how to be in the right place."
In the SAA tourney at Birmingham, the Warriors, the third seed, defeated Berry, Millsaps and regular-season champion Birmingham-Southern on its home court.
"The Millsaps game a big one," she said. "They were the only team to have beaten us in the last half of the conference season and we wanted to get them back. When we beat them, we knew we had a great shot at winning the whole thing. We had beaten Birmingham-Southern on that court earlier. The way we have come together and were playing, we knew we were capable of beating anyone."
Trinity (26-1) had defeated Hendrix in early December in Conway.
"We are better team and I’m sure they are, too," she said. "We know what we are facing and we are familiar with the surroundings because we played at UT-Dallas (the host facility) in tournament earlier in the season."
Secondary to the basketball and volleyball statistics is what Dyslin has achieved off the court. She plans to go to graduate school and later into scientific research.
Her grade-point average is 3.95 in neuroscience and french.
A double major. Of course.