A year ago at this time, Kaelin Immel was helping Southridge High School complete a championship run through Oregon’s 6A state tournament.
On Monday, she became the first Air Force women's basketball player to earn Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors before scoring 18 points in a conference tournament victory over Utah State.
All of the aforementioned information is related.
“I came from a very successful high school program,” Immel told KVOR’s Jim Arthur during a postgame interview on Monday. “Coming into this team I wanted to bring that winning mentality.”
The scoring has helped, too. Immel has scored 447 points this year, setting an Air Force single-season record in the program’s two decades as a Division I program. It’s the most ever for a freshman in the program regardless of classification and her 288 points and 16.0 ppg in Mountain West play are both school records.
“I try to come every day and play hard,” Immel told The Gazette, “and I guess (the scoring records) just happened.”
Immel, whose father, Dave, averaged 13.3 ppg for UCLA in 1987-88, was joined on the Mountain West’s All-Freshman Team by teammate Emily Conroe.
Air Force won four conference games in the four seasons prior to Immel’s arrival. It has now defeated four Mountain West teams in the past five games.
Immel’s teammates are enjoying her success and the lift she has brought to the program.
“She’s so good,” senior guard Cortney Porter said. “It’s so fun to play with her. She’s the most humble teammate I’ve ever played with. For her to accomplish that, it’s awesome.”