Alyssa Yocky waited more than two years between appearances on the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference weekly awards for women’s basketball.
The Fort Lewis College senior forward was named the RMAC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after the Skyhawks split a pair of road games with a win last Friday at Regis and a loss Saturday to Colorado Christian University. She averaged 12 points and nine rebounds per game and tallied seven steals and a blocked shot during the weekend trip.
It was the first RMAC weekly award for Yocky since Jan. 2, 2017, when she was named the player of the week. That year, her sophomore season, Yocky went on to be named to the All-RMAC Second Team with averages of 12.5 points and nine rebounds per game.
“It feels really good,” Yocky said of the award. “Last year, I just didn’t feel like myself, and I made it a goal this season to get back to where I was sophomore year. Getting defensive player of the week means that I’m finally back to where I was two years ago.”
Yocky, a 6-foot forward from La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, was limited to 17 games and only five starts her junior season while she battled an Achilles injury that required surgery. When she returned to the floor for the second half of that season, it was clear Yocky wasn’t the same player.
“It was hard,” FLC head coach Jason Flores said. “She played through a lot of pain and spent so much time in the training room to improve enough to try to manage the pain and get on the court. It was pretty extensive surgery that she came back from, but she went down the road and didn’t let it stop her. It’s hard seeing anyone go through that.”
Last year, Yocky also was suddenly on the floor with a Division I talent in Vivian Gray, a freshman who also played forward for FLC before she transferred to Oklahoma State University last summer. With Gray playing a similar position on the floor, Yocky never got comfortable adjusting to a new dynamic while also managing physical limitations.
“It’s been a struggle mentally and physically to come back from this injury,” Yocky said. “I was cleared to play last year, but I really didn’t get back to where I was before surgery. It’s been an up-and-down experience.”
This year, Yocky has looked like the player she was as a sophomore and has provided senior leadership to a young and developing team. She has done it all while maintaining a stellar 3.94 grade-point average. This school year, she also has served as the student body vice president and is the head of her honors program.
“When you start talking about Alyssa, you start with what a great person she is,” Flores said. “If there’s a Webster’s Dictionary definition of student-athlete, it would be her. I don’t know if there’s five people like her in the country that are on a college basketball team, student body vice president, head of the honors program, and the list goes on and on with what she’s done for this school, much less our program. It’s something anybody can look up to and learn from.”
FLC has nine games remaining on the schedule with five at home after this weekend’s trip to Utah to face Dixie State and Westminster College. Yocky will enter the weekend with 666 career rebounds, which ranks eighth in FLC women’s basketball history.
She is only 37 rebounds away from the top five despite missing much of a full season. Yocky is also only 41 points away from joining the top-20 scorers in FLC history, as she has 853 points. She’s already in the top 20 in blocked shots with 39.
Each accolade is another indication of how hard Yocky has had to work.
“It’s a lot of time management and sacrifice,” she said. “I give up a lot of free time and social aspects of my life to be involved on campus while putting the time on the court. I also have amazing professors, coaches, teammates and advisers who work with my busy schedule and always support me.”