Tamrah Konieczka and Delaney Edwards prove female athletes are competitive and dedicated in their sports and studies as they excel on and off the court.
Delaney Edwards, a senior health science pre-physician assistant major playing for the women’s basketball team, was recently named 3rd Team All-American for the 2020- 21 season by the National Christian College Athletic Association. Edwards has been at the top of her game all season, averaging 14.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and scoring a personal season’s best of 23 points for the BJU Lady Bruins in a game against Carolina Christian College. She was also voted 1st Team All-Region.
Edwards said when she was younger, all her friends played with Barbie dolls while she was outside playing football and baseball with her brother. Edwards said, “Nine times out of 10 I was outside playing with my brother and his friends.”
Tamrah Konieczka, a junior criminal justice major on the women’s basketball team said she appreciates how tough Edwards is. “She’s had a lot of injuries, but she always powers through and doesn’t make excuses,” Konieczka said. “I feel like she doesn’t express how much pain she can be in.” Edwards not only puts in extra hours at the gym but extra hours in the classroom as she works to become a physician’s assistant after graduation.
“Team chemistry really lifts a team even beyond what they are capable of doing as a bunch of indiviuals competing together.” —Mike LeViere
Konieczka is also no stranger to the rigors of balancing athletics and academics. Konieczka was named Scholar-Athlete, her first academic honor. The title is given to upperclassmen or graduate student-athletes who maintain a 3.4 GPA or above. As a junior, this is the first year Konieczka was eligible for the award. Three of Konieczka’s teammates were also named Scholar-Athlete: junior Bethany Daulton, junior Rebekah Shoop and senior Gracen Ledford who earned the honor for the second time in a row.
Lady Bruins basketball coach Mike LeViere said Konieczka has the right team spirit he looks for in a player. Konieczka was benched most of her freshman year and played minimally her sophomore year. LeViere said now that Konieczka is a junior, she has stepped into some roles of seniors who graduated.
Konieczka is third in the nation in the NCCAA DII 3-point percentage and the second leading rebounder on her team.
Edwards said she knew since freshman year that Konieczka would start making strides to full impact and this year, Konieczka has blossomed on the court. Edwards said, “This year she really did come in, and she was a key player for us and just hit shots when we needed and got steels and turnovers.”
Edwards said Konieczka and another girl on the team had a competition about who could get the most steals in the game. “I didn’t realize it until probably three or four games in and they’re saying some numbers on the court.”
LeViere said there is somewhat of a misconception that women are not as competitive as men. LeViere said women use competition to express themselves and their accomplishments and to challenge themselves.
“Delaney is super competitive and expresses it,” LeViere said. “She is a versatile player on the court as an outside threat and can take the ball inside and guard inside. She adds a good competitive edge to us,” LeViere said women are more emotionally intelligent than men on the court, paying attention to emotions around them.
LeViere said, “Team chemistry really lifts a team even beyond what they are capable of doing, as a bunch of individuals competing together.”
Konieczka said relationships on her team motivate her to play better. “I feel like I’m in this role and I need to fulfill my duties,” Konieczka said.
Konieczka said her coach trains her to be mentally tough by putting the team in a scenario. “With 30 seconds left on the clock,” Konieczka said, “and we’ll run that scenario out and we’ll see what we do…and what we can do better.”
LeViere said many female athletes come to the team having been the best player on their high school team and become disappointed when they are benched for longer than they expected. He looks for players who are willing to give up their personal desires for the sake of the team.