By Benjamin Wideman / Director of Media Relations and Sports Information
Danielle Byrum’s role entering this season was to take pressure off senior teammate Kaela Cheesman when it came to three-point shooting.
Byrum fulfilled that role, and much more.
The 5-foot-8 sophomore guard from Sheboygan Lutheran High School led the Silver Lake College women’s basketball team this season with 63 three-point baskets. That total ranks fourth nationally in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
Thanks in part to Byrum’s three-point shooting, the Lakers earned a bid on Wednesday to the USCAA’s 2016 Basketball National Championships, which will be held March 1-5 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, just south of Pittsburgh. It’s the team’s first appearance in a national championship tournament in two decades.
The Lakers (21-5) are seeded No. 4 in the eight-team Division 1 field and will play their first-round game at noon on March 2 against No. 5 seed University of Maine-Fort Kent (19-5).
“Danielle’s shot has improved so much this season,” Silver Lake College head coach Mike Flentje said. “She single-handedly kept us in a few games with her three-point shooting. I’m looking forward to her helping us on the outside at nationals.”
Byrum is one of three Lakers to have played in every game this season (including three starts). She’s fifth on the team with 9.0 points per game, and her 37.3 percent shooting from three-point range ranks eighth nationally.
“This season was definitely a step in the right direction for me in order to step up to a bigger role next season,” said Byrum, who last season averaged 6.1 points per game and made 44 total three-pointers.
Byrum scored in double digits 10 times this season. Her highest-scoring output was 21 points (on seven three-pointers) in the regular-season finale at Gogebic in Ironwood, Mich. She also had five rebounds and two steals that game. In addition, she hit six three-pointers en route to 18 points in a victory over Moody Bible on Nov. 17 in Chicago.
However, her favorite game this season was a 70-57 home victory over Judson University on Jan. 7. “The atmosphere in the gym was incredible,” she said.
Byrum added that although she’s a bit nervous about playing on a national stage, it’s a “great opportunity to show everyone what SLC basketball is all about.”
Byrum was named a USCAA Academic All-American this season. She’s majoring in biology and minoring in computer science.