Putting up numbers comparable to her year-one production at Campbell, when she made the conference’s all-freshman team, Tuelle averaged 8.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and two assists per contest as the 2019-20 Lady Camels authored a 21-8 record, including a 16-4 league worksheet.
It was the Camels’ first league title in 20 years and only the third in program history.
Making 18 starts in her 29 appearances, Tuelle played 25.4 minutes a game for coach Ronny Fisher’s NCAA Division I squad. Contributing to an extremely balanced offensive attack — Campbell’s top scoring average was 9.7 — the Hampton High alum with flashy ball skills finished second on the team in total points (259) and 3-pointers (48).
Tuelle, a 5-foot-10 guard and dean’s list member for the North Carolina-based school (Buies Creek), recorded a dozen double-digit scoring outputs — topped by a career-high 23 points at USC Upstate. Going 7 of 14 from 3-point territory against Upstate, she mustered seven games in which she sank three or more treys.
Twice reaching double figures in rebounds, Tuelle grabbed 11 boards in action at Old Dominion and 10 in a double-double showing (14 points) at North Carolina Central.
Unfortunately for the Camels, the global pandemic dashed their very real NCAA tournament aspirations — ending their season before they could play a Big South tournament game.
The team came within one victory of making the NCAA field in Tuelle’s freshman campaign, settling for a semifinal appearance in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
JOHNSON DOES QUALITY WORK
Happy Valley graduate Kalee Johnson created a formidable presence for UVa.-Wise this past season.
One of just three players to start all 28 games for the NCAA Division II Lady Cavaliers, Johnson logged per-game averages of 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 82.9 percent (63-76) from the charity stripe. Draining 34 3-pointers, the 5-10 guard/forward also amassed 36 steals, 35 assists and 26 blocked shots.
Johnson, who improved in each of those statistical categories from the previous season, ranked first on the team in foul shooting and rejections — and second in total rebounds (146).
Netting 10 or more points in 18 games, Johnson crafted four 20-point performances — dropping in a career-high 23 at Concord.
A separate career best was established when she swatted away five shots versus Queens University of Charlotte. Furthermore, she coupled 18 points with 10 boards in a matchup with Lincoln Memorial.
Transitioning from the Mountain East to the more rigorous South Atlantic Conference, UVa-Wise finished with a 12-16 record (8-14 conference).
Daniel Boone alum Sydney Pearce closed the book on her sophomore season at Carson-Newman, having answered the call in 23 contests (two starts).
The 6-3 forward turned in the best game of her career in the South Atlantic tournament quarterfinals, amassing 15 points (7 of 9 from field), five rebounds and two blocked shots in 14 minutes as the Lady Eagles bopped Lenoir-Rhyne, 105-71.
Former Lady Trailblazer Macie Culbertson got into eight games as a sophomore for Belmont University, an NCAA D-I school that shared the Ohio Valley Conference title with UT-Martin.
Unicoi County product Halie Padgett will be Milligan’s top returning scorer (12.8 ppg), rebounder (7.8), steals producer (1.0) and shot blocker (0.7) in 2020-21. Padgett started 29 of her 31 sophomore games.
Of the local-based freshmen who drew action for the Lady Buffs, Stacia Wilson (Cloudland) appeared in 22 tilts and averaged 11.2 minutes. Chloe Powers (Unicoi) played in eight games and Gracie Crabtree (University High) one.