Ecclesia College Women’s Basketball team had a fantastic season of growth and development within their program. When asked where she saw the most growth, Coach Tonya Ingram said this, “Coming into the year, we knew that we needed a foundation to build from. That was priority number one. Recognizing that as the primary need, we focused our efforts on the individual development of our girls without putting exaggerated emphasis on the record. We feel as though the foundation has been laid and that bodes well for us in the upcoming years.” She continued, “For me personally, this year was full of growth. The biggest area of growth was probably in the area of perception. The thoughts of others on how we were performing on the floor no longer meant what it used to. I chose to put my pride aside, step away from the easy ‘record-based’ lens, and truly ask myself what do these girls need to be successful? The emphasis that was placed on development allowed me to get out of the way and gave me the opportunity to focus more on the process than the outcome.”
The Lady Royals fought hard and stuck together as they walked through battle after battle. After losing several players from the previous season and filling the remaining spots with inexperienced players, they entered into what was expected to be a tough season. Coupled with an inexperienced roster, the women’s basketball team faced a tough schedule that included top tier NAIA programs John Brown University, Midway College, Southwestern Christian University, and more. Coach Ingram told us, “This team was challenged in multiple ways to begin the year. With no true on-the-floor leader, they were faced with a decision to either let that hold them back or to rise to the challenge and trust each other. They came together as a team throughout the year and realized that the name and number on the back of the jersey were less important than what was written across their chest. Trust was key for this year’s team, especially with the adversity that we faced. The ability to recognize the problem at the beginning of the year and come together at the end spoke volumes to the character of the girls we have.”
The Lady Royals played this season with only a single senior and are bringing most of their key pieces back. We truly look forward to seeing where this new culture and foundation will take the Lady Royals. When speaking about the future, Coach Ingram said, “With the foundation having been laid in the 19-20 season, we are excited about the six returners who have bought in and know what we expect. We feel that the accountability they bring will set us up to be successful both on and off the floor. We also have a great recruiting class full of pieces that will impact our on-floor performance as well as our culture. We feel as though we’ve done a good job filling positional roles with this class, and that they will step on campus ready to make an impact.”
Although the numbers in the win column did not look great for the Lady Royals, they did not show the true season that these ladies had. In the midst of adversity there were other areas in which they shined bright. Grabbing 8.3 rebounds per game was enough to earn Mayela Escamilla the number 15th ranked spot in the country. Also, on the leader boards was the 3PT percentage defense for the Lady Royals. They held their opponents to .288 from behind the arc earning them the 9th best spot in the country on that list. Contributions came from all members of the Lady Royals roster. Harmony Van Campen and Saphire Thompson lead the Royals in scoring at 12ppg and 10 ppg respectively. Kaylye Coffman and Mayela Escamilla lead in rebounding with 8rpg and 8.3rpg respectively. Madison Wiggins checked in with the 2nd most made triples on the team. Alexis Hodges and Paige Patton ran point accounting for almost a third of the team assists. Abigail Hutchins, Emily Cannon, and Emilee Alvarado were the glue players that fought hard every day, went above what was asked of them, and embodied the definition of the role player that every coach wants. It was truly a team that wanted the best out of each other and understood that this is only the start of good things to come.
We have high expectations for this next season of Lady Royal basketball and ask that you to join us in welcoming this new era. Follow along here and @ecclesia_royals.