ELMHURST, Ill. - The Summit League has selected South Dakota men’s basketball player Tyler Larson (Las Vegas, Nev.) as the Male Athlete of the Month and Western Illinois women’s basketball player Ashley Luke (Oak Creek, Wis.) as the Female Athlete of the Month for December.
Larson captures his first career Athlete of the Month honor after leading South Dakota to a 4-3 record last month. The senior guard poured in a career-high 25 points with 10 rebounds in the double overtime loss at Creighton on Dec. 9. He drained the game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer to force the first overtime period. He had two other double-doubles during the month on Dec. 18 vs. Montana State (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Dec. 21 at Montana (15 points, 10 rebounds). In a Dec. 5 loss to Youngstown State, Larson had 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists. He added another 20-point effort on Dec. 28 in a win over Milwaukee with 22 points. For the month, Larson averaged 17.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and one steal per contest. He shot 52 percent (44-of-85) from the field and 83 percent (29-of-35) at the free throw line. He ended the month ranked first in the league in rebounds per game (8.10 and double-doubles (6).
Luke also earns her first career Athlete of the Month award after averaging a double-double and guiding Western Illinois to a 5-2 December record. The Oak Creek, Wis., native scored a season-high 25 points in a Dec. 9 win at Bradley while grabbing 16 rebounds. She added three more double-double performances on Dec. 12 versus Eastern Illinois (19 points, 12 rebounds), Dec. 21 at Marquette (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Dec. 28 against Eureka (10 points, 15 rebounds). The junior forward began the month with 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting in the win at Southeast Missouri State on Dec. 3. For the month, Luke averaged 16.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and one steal per game. She has currently scored in double figures in 52 consecutive games and was named the league’s Player of the Week on Dec. 15. Luke is second in the league in points per game (16.7) and rebounds per game (9.7) this season.
Also nominated for the Men’s Athlete of the Month: Dylan Bunch, Denver, swimming & diving; Steve Forbes, Fort Wayne, basketball; Devin Patterson, Omaha, basketball; Obi Emegano, Oral Roberts, basketball.
Also nominated for the Women’s Athlete of the Month: Samantha Corea, Denver, swimming & diving; Haley Seibert, Fort Wayne, basketball; Brooke LeMar, North Dakota State, basketball; Mikaela Shaw, Omaha, basketball; Raeshel Contreras, South Dakota, basketball.