Delgado developing into a go-to player for Mavs

LAST season, STEPHANIE DELGADO, 32, was an important role player for the Mesa State women’s basketball team. This season, Delgado is turning into one of the players the Mavs depend on.

For the past three years, Stephanie Delgado has been a role player for the Mesa State College women’s
basketball team.

She would often come off the bench when Cassie Hutto would get in foul trouble or needed a breather.

Delgado averaged a career-high seven points a game as a sophomore and scored in double figures in 10 games. She averaged a career-high 17.4 minutes per game and scored a career-high 19 points last season. She has started 13 games in her career, including 11 last season.

“I’ve always been kind of a role player,” Delgado said. “Coming off the bench was my strength. Now it’s my senior year, I have to step up. I didn’t know who we’d get or who would be here. It’s my fourth year. I want to show what I’ve learned.”

This year, the 5-foot-11 post player is developing into a go-to player for the Mavericks (3-3), who began the season with her and Abby Hancock as the most experienced players. Delgado leads the team in scoring (13.0 per game) and is averaging 6.3 rebounds per game. She tied a career single-game high with 19 points and set a career single-game high 10 rebounds last weekend and made the Dixie State all-tournament team.

“She’s played the way a senior should play,” Mesa State coach Timi Brown said. “She is taking on more responsibility. I’m happy with her progress. She’s playing more relaxed.”

The past three games Delgado has led the Mavericks in scoring, reaching double figures in all three games, two of which were victories and is closing in on 500 career points. She is 42nd in Mesa State history with 495.

“I think the last couple of tournaments, they looked at us and thought we were small and not athletic,” Delgado said. “The last couple of games we learned a lot. We played 40 minutes together. Other teams may take us for granted, but they shouldn’t be thinking that. We can do a lot of things.”

Delgado, though, has always looked for the tough competition to make herself better.

The Las Vegas native started playing basketball in elementary school and quickly sought an opportunity to play against the boys. It paid off.

By the time she was a freshman in high school, she was playing on the varsity. Delgado was selected Coronado High School’s most valuable player as a junior and senior. She was a two-time all-conference pick and led the team to the state tournament, but she wasn’t highly recruited out of high school.

Delgado found Mesa State and convinced Brown to let her play.

“I was looking for a school to get a quality education first and second to have a good time playing basketball,” Delgado said. “I found Mesa. It stuck out to me.”

As a freshman, she had the opportunity to learn, playing in 25 games and scored 17 points in one game.

“The freshman year is the easiest,” Delgado said. “It’s all about learning. You can get away with (mistakes). Your sophomore year you get chewed up. You can’t make mistakes. As a junior, you learn to set the example and your senior year, you set the example.

“People think playing post is not too hard. You just use your body and push people around, but it’s a lot of footwork. Mentally, it’s tough if you are playing against a bigger player. You have to make sure you finish your layups.”


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