Written by Carrie Johnson, Staff Writer
The Austin College women’s basketball team adds 8 new freshmen to the roster from places as far away as Washington to down the road in Grapevine.
The team finished 10-16 last season, making it to the second round in the Conference tournament before falling short to 2021-2022 Conference Champions Trinity University.
This year, the ’Roos welcome Avery Rague, Brooklyn Matthews, Kaylee Lewis, Sammi Guffey, Mylee Nottingham, Catherine Akers, Grace Moothart, and Jordan Skaggs.
Avery Rague comes from Lago Vista high school where she earned First Team All District, Offensive MVP, and Third Team Centex. During her senior, junior, and sophomore year, she led in assists and led in blocked shots during her senior year. When asked about her reason for choosing Austin College, she said, “I chose Austin College academically because they offer great courses. I also chose it for the basketball program.”
Head Coach Michelle Filander said, “I am excited to add Avery to the program. As a coach’s daughter she has a great understanding of the game and plays unselfishly.”
From Conroe, Texas, Brooklyn Matthews graduated from Covenant Christian School. Her sophomore year she was District MVP, and then was First Team All State twice and First Team All District four times. Brooklyn chose Austin College because she said it “seemed like a good community,” and she also chose to play basketball here because “the team is fun to be around.”
“Brooklyn has great natural instincts for the game that I am eager to develop more this season,” added Coach Fi. “She also provides much needed height and rebounding to the team.”
“My academic needs are [met] here at Austin College and I feel like I will succeed here” said freshman Kaylee Lewis. She is from Grapevine, Texas, and graduated from Colleyville Heritage High School. Her high school accolades include earning Highest Free Throw Percentage three times, Heart and Hustle award, and All District Academic Award four times. On joining the basketball team, she said “The basketball team here is so welcoming and very determined on similar goals.”
Coach Fi has words to welcome Kaylee, too – “When I saw Kaylee play in high school I knew we had to have her on our team. She is confident from the perimeter and her shot is effortless, but more importantly she is a teammate.”
Sammi Guffey made the trip from Camas, Washington from Camas High School. “I actually found AC through basketball and it influenced my decision because the basketball program has a great team environment,” she said. “I chose AC because they offer a personalized academic experience and the majors that I might want to pursue” Her intended major is Kinesiology.
Coach Fi said, “Sammi led a deep state tournament run her senior year and did much of it from the 3-point line. She is an exciting shooter and matches our style really well.”
Mylee Nottingham from Paris, Texas (not France, although she wishes) graduated from North Lamar High School. Mylee chose Austin College because she wants to succeed in her academics and thought that Austin College was the place to be. She intends to major in Kinesiology. “I also chose to play basketball because I have such a big passion for the sport and I was wanting to take it to the next level,” she added. “I am looking forward to getting to know my teammates throughout the year and getting better as a team.” Her senior year stats include 14.3 points per game, 3.2 steals per game, a rebound average of 8 per game, and 2.3 assists per game.
With her stats and record in mind, Coach Fi said, “Mylee is entering her freshman year after a very impressive 23-9 senior season. It’s important to have players with winning experience and Mylee is representative of that.”
“I chose AC because I really liked the smaller classes and how much of a community it is,” said Catherine Akers. Catherine is from Keller TX and graduated from Timber Creek High School. “I’m excited for basketball games,” she added.
Just as excited, Coach Fi followed with, “Catherine comes to us from a strong club program and equally as strong high school district where she earned second team honors. I’m looking forward to adding her experience.”
Just down Highway 75, Grace Moothart joins from Melissa, Texas where at Melissa High School she was First Team All District and Academic All State twice.
“I met Grace as a sophomore in high school and was so excited about her love for the game. She has elevated her game over those last two years of high school and brings an incredible work ethic,” Coach Filander said about Grace.
“Jordan brings incredible energy to the team,” Coach Fi commented about Jordan Skaggs from Houston, Texas. “She plays the game with a lot of athleticism and joy. She will be an asset in a lot of aspects.”
Jordan was Second Team All District twice, Academic All District four times and the third player to have the most blocked shots in school history in the DHS program.
Coach Olivia Hunt, an alumna of Austin College who has returned as the Brittany Simpson Endowed Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach, said: “So glad to be back at Austin College, this place is home for me. I’m looking forward to getting on the court with the team in October.” and “Looks like our freshmen have a ton of potential, so I can’t wait to work with them.”
“I think this year as a team we have a lot of potential to shock a lot of people,” said Lili Brown, student assistant coach. “This year’s freshman class brings a lot of energy to the team and I think they will help to make an impact on the team as a whole right away. I’m super excited to get this year underway!”