2023-24 Girls Basketball

Sunnyside’s Nayeli Nidez-Acuña eclipses 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career

Sunnyside senior forward Nayeli Nidez-Acuña celebrates joining the 1,000-point and 1,000-rebound club with her teammates (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Sunnyside senior forward Nayeli Nidez-Acuña fittingly grabbed the final rebound of the game in the 46-29 win over Rincon/University at Desert View on a night when she made history corraling the ball after a missed shot.

On Senior Night, she capped a performance that demonstrated how strongly she is finishing her stellar career while leading Sunnyside to a 22-3 record.

Nidez-Acuña’s 13 rebounds Thursday night allowed her to eclipse 1,000 rebounds while already accomplishing that feat with points.

She now has 1,003 rebounds in her career. Her 18 points increases her career scoring to 1,278.

“It means the world to me,” Nidez-Acuña said of reaching 1,000 rebounds. “I didn’t think I was going to make it. Like I said, ‘We have to wait until the end of the year.’ Look where we are, we’re at the end of the season, ready to go the playoffs and we’re going to keep on striving.

“This is just another milestone going over.”

When Nidez-Acuña eclipsed her 1,000th career point in a win over Pueblo on Dec. 6, she was at 794 rebounds. She needed to average 10.2 rebounds the rest of her regular-season games to reach 1,000.

She presently is averaging 12.6 rebounds a game.

“Just keep pushing, every day is a new day,” she said about her high rebounding production. “You’ve got to keep going. Nothing’s going to stop you. Nothing’s going to get in your way.

“Some days you have bad days. Some days you have good days. You just got to push through whatever day you’re having.”

“She’s everything,” Sunnyside coach Justin Delgado said of his senior captain. “She is what it means to be a true leader. Always works hard; first in the gym and last one out.”

Nidez-Acuña is the first local big-school player (4A to 6A) eclipse at least 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career since Flowing Wells’ Taneisha Gossett compiled 2,043 points and 1,247 rebounds from 1990-94.

Former Arizona player Shawn Coder of Willcox had 2,162 points and 1,104 rebounds in her career from 1986-90.

The closest recently to join the 1,000-point and 1,000-rebound club was Sahuaro’s Alyssa Brown and Flowing Wells’ Navine Mallon.

Brown, who finished her Sahuaro career in 2021, produced 2,680 points and 909 rebounds. Mallon, who completed her high school career last season, finished with 1,272 points and 918 rebounds. COVID-19 restrictions in 2020-21 impeded their chance to produce at least 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career.

Nidez-Acuña was a freshman in 2020-21 and played only 17 games because of cancelled games due to COVID-19.

That happened to be Delgado’s first season as head coach after coaching the Baboquivari boys basketball team to the 1A semifinals and a 24-9 record in 2019-20.

The Blue Devils endured 14 straight seasons without a winning record when Delgado took over the program. He is 68-28 at the school in his first four seasons.

“I really lean on my assistant coaches to help me out,” Delgado said of his staff, which includes his dad Pete, who coached the football and baseball programs at Baboquivari before joining Tanque Verde’s football coaching staff this season as an offensive line coach.

“It’s us as a staff; it’s never just one person. It’s also the ladies that come in here and work hard. They set the example from the very beginning.”

Delgado’s staff also includes Julius Johnson and Ricardo Medina.

Freshman guard Ylena Gross (pronounced Gr-ahs) had 10 points to help lead Sunnyside against Rincon/University (11-13).

Another talented freshman, the Rangers’ Leila O’Dowd, finished with 15 points.


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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