Camilion builds on historic career at Iona


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Camilion played the third-most minutes in the MAAC this season.  

Giovanni Paolo Tagliafierro, Sports Editor

Senior Juana Camilion has been a standout name in the women’s basketball program here at Iona since her freshman season in 2018. From her first minutes on the court in the Maroon and Gold, to the conclusion of her fourth season, Camilion has been an integral piece of Iona’s program.  


The 5’10 guard from Palma De Mallorca, Spain has received postseason all-conference honors every year she has played in New Rochelle. At the end of this season, Camilion earned an even bigger award when she was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.  


The casual fan looking at Camilion’s statistics, like her recent achievement of 1,000 career points, may see her as one of the best and well-equipped scoring guards in the MAAC, and they would be correct. However, what fails to show up in the box score is how Camilion impacts her team defensively. Her recognition as the best defender in the conference tells the story that the stat sheet fails to.  


The senior put up impressive numbers over the course of the 2021-22 season on both ends of the court. Camilion averaged the ninth-most points per game in the conference with 13, while grabbing nearly six rebounds and dishing out 3.7 assists per contest, gaining her one of the more impressive offensive slash lines in the MAAC.  


On defense, Camilion averaged the third-most steals per game in the conference, while totaling 14 blocked shots from the two-guard spot on the floor. However, as stated earlier, the numbers don’t do her season justice.  


In every one of Iona’s 27 games last season, Camilion was the de facto option to guard the opponent’s top player.  


Players like Fairfield’s Lou Lopez-Senchal, the conference’s leading scorer, Manhattan’s Dee Dee Davis, who averaged 19 points per game, and Niagara’s Angel Parker, the conference’s third leading scorer, all knew that whenever they played Iona, they would have a matchup with Camilion waiting for them.  


She did not disappoint either. The Iona guard held Lopez-Senechal to just 11 points on 4-11 shooting in a Feb. 10 matchup against Fairfield. She limited Manhattan’s Davis to the same number on 4-14 shooting on Jan. 13 before stymieing Parker on Feb. 17, keeping her to a 3-13 night.  


While it would appear that Camilion has been a natural defender all her life, she explained in a phone interview how adjusting to the U.S. brand of basketball hasn’t been easy.  


“I came here from Spain, and everything is new, the practice time, the culture, games, rules, the pace, everything is different,” Camilion said. “I had to adapt myself. I came with an open mind. I came to learn and four years later, I’m still here.”  


Camilion continued by recalling how rule differences in the sport between the two countries forced her to become a more nuanced and skilled defender.  


“In Spain you’re allowed to be more physical with your defense and put your arms in there,” Camilion said. “But here you have to be way more careful to not use your hands which took me a little bit to get used to.”  


“In my first college game as a freshman, I fouled out.” Camilion said laughing. “I played thirteen minutes and I had five fouls.”  


It is safe to say that the senior guard has adapted herself to the game well as she now adds a major conference award to her collegiate basketball resume. Her next goal, however, has nothing to do with personal awards, and everything to do with elevating herself and her team to a higher level of play.