BROOKINGS -- Myah Selland’s role has steadily increased throughout her career. And recognition has followed.
If the parallel between the two continue, Selland could be in for a hoard of personal accolades this season. The Letcher native isn’t thinking about that in the early part of the season, rather focused on helping the Jackrabbits make a third straight NCAA tournament.
But this year, the two go hand-in-hand.
“I think my role is definitely going to grow this year,” Selland said. “It’s just fun when you have such great teammates who all can step up on any given night.”
It’s been an adjustment for SDSU (3-2) in the first month of the season, as it tries to replace all-time leading scorer and Mitchell native Macy Miller and Madison Guebert. It’ll take a collective effort to replace their production, but a large portion comes from Selland.
After being named to the Summit League all-newcomer team as a freshman and all-conference honorable mention last season, she has a chance to validate her selection to the preseason all-conference first team. A lot of it depends on how she handles her new role, though.
Selland plays at small and power forward this season due to Tagyn Larson and Paiton Burckhard both starting. For the 6-foot-1 junior, half of the battle is adjusting to different matchups in a more perimeter-oriented offensive role.
“She’ll be guarded by 5-10, really quick, athletic guards and how does she handle that now? Can she get them inside and do her thing?,” SDSU coach Aaron Johnston said. “Against other teams, she might be guarded by a more physical, stronger forward. Now how does she handle them on the perimeter?”
It’ll be a process. But through five games, Selland has been a better rebounder (6 rpg), shot more efficiently from the field (52.1 percent) and has created more turnovers (1.6 spg). She’s also averaging 12 points per game for the second straight season.
While her game has pulled her toward the 3-point line, her outside shot has started slow. She’s 2 of 13 from 3-point range, which is an area Johnston wants to see be more consistent. Selland has tried to put up more 3s, averaging a career-high 2.6 attempts per game.
One of her biggest focuses comes off the court, though.
“Honestly, a big part of it is to be a leader this year,” Selland said. “Growing into that upperclassmen role and the role as a captain. That’s a big part of what I’ve been focusing on and getting better at is just being a good leader for the team.”
Despite being a junior, Selland was voted a captain with Larson.
“As a junior, that says a lot about how her teammates view her,” Johnston said. “Her type of leadership has always been by example. … Where she probably needs to grow as a leader is being more vocal and leading with her voice.”
Selland was vocal about her pleasure with SDSU’s non-conference schedule, continuing Thursday against South Florida in the Cancun Challenge.
The Jackrabbits play half of last year’s Final Four, too. They take on Notre Dame in Cancun, Mexico, and travel to No. 1 Oregon on Dec. 8 in a rematch of last year’s Sweet 16. It’ll be a challenge for a team looking for emerging key pieces.
“We’re going to have a lot of people step forward, but Myah will be a key part of that,” Johnston said. “She’ll need to score more, rebound more and create more offense for her teammates. But it’s not just something anybody jumps into a game and does, you have to learn how to do it.”