The Alice Lloyd Lady Eagles are coming off a historic year. Despite the COVID pandemic that caused the squad to only play two contests the entire first semester, the club picked things up considerably once they reached January. Although the team lost a tough opening game in the NAIA River States Conference Tournament, they still earned a bid to the NCCAA DI National Championship as the Mideast Regional representative. Given new life, ALC made the most of their opportunity. The squad promptly won three games, including an upset over the tournament’s top-seed, and earned Alice Lloyd College its first-ever national championship trophy on any level.
In the process, Coach John Mills was named NCCAA National Coach of the Year. Additionally, senior guard Haley Hall was named Most Outstanding Player of the national tournament, as well as being voted First Team All River States Conference for the third consecutive year and First Team All-American by the NCCAA.
Flash forward to 2021-22 and the good news is Coach Mills is not left with a bare cupboard. The giddy coach returns a wealth of experience as a COVID exception from last season allowed all of his seniors the opportunity to return for one last hoorah. While he did lose hard working Shelby Davis, everyone else is back, and expectations are through the roof.
Not only do the Lady Eagles return 91% of their offense and their two top scorers in Hall (19.3 ppg) and sharp-shooting Ali May (12.7 ppg), fellow seniors Bailee Brainard, Alex Clifton, and Hannah Kash return with valuable championship minutes under their belts. For good measure, Hannah Malcomson, 6’3 Emma Maggard, and leading rebounder (and All-NCCAA Tournament selection) Madison Thompson also return to the fold. In addition, Tori Hampton, Kristin Issac, Dakayla Miller, Riley Schreck, and Kirsten Cole-Williamson were part of last year’s championship run as well.
Newcomers to watch for include Makayla May, Katie Jo Moore, Kenzie Maynard, Lakyn Porter, and Madison Ward.
When asked about his squad, the veteran coach replied, “I really like the players that we have with this team. Last season was a wonderful experience for these ladies and I think they are hungry for more.”
Mills added, “Our conference is very strong but our main objective this year is to be highly competitive just as we were last season. However, to be a contender, you have to be able to string together consecutive good years, so I consider 2021-22 to be a statement to show where we are as a club and which direction we are heading. I am excited to see what this group of Lady Eagles can achieve.”