Transfers help raise AU women’s basketball ceiling in 2022-23 season

Three transfers make immediate impacts on the court for Eagles


Brynn Meisse

Eagle transfers Savaya Brockington and Maddie Maloney embrace one another after winning the Midwest Regional Championship.

Cade Cracas, Sports & Digital Editor

After the Ashland University women’s basketball team fell to the Walsh Cavaliers, 72-62, to finish the team’s 2021-22 season, questions arose on what they were going to do to heighten their ceiling.

Before the start of the 2022-23 season, the Eagles brought in four transfer students to propel them past the loaded Midwest Region. Fortunately for them, those transfers would do more for the team than they would ever expect.

“We had a lot of new faces and I feel like that could have gone one of two ways,” said forward Hayley Smith. “We chose the right way and that was such a cool experience to be apart of.”

On Saturday, April 1, after a 37-0 overall season, a conference championship and a regional tournament championship, the Eagles were named Division II national champions. In the championship game, they took on the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs and downed them 78-67.

That victory would not be as convincing without three of the Eagles transfers who made impacts while out on the floor.

Leading the way for the transfers was former Bowling Green State forward Zoe Miller who knocked down 6-of-8 shots and three free throws for 16 total points. The combination of Miller, Annie Roshak and Smith, has been a force to be reckoned with inside the paint all season long.

“This group of girls is amazing. I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else,” said Miller. “I’ve never played with a team that loves each other like this.”

Alongside Miller, former Purdue Northwest guard Savaya Brockington and former Saginaw Valley State guard Maddie Maloney combined for 11 points and seven assists.

Bringing in a handful of new players could disrupt a locker room, but for the Eagles, if anything it launched them forward with success.

“We had players join us at random moments. We got Savaya [Brockington] because we had a player quit in June,” said Head Coach Kari Pickens. “What a stud she is. I truly believe this team was hand-picked.”

Brockington joined the team in August of 2022, after being called by Coach Pickens. After receiving the call, the next day she visited and then committed to being an Eagle.

“The process couldn’t have been more smooth. Between the coaching staff and team, it has just been super welcoming,” said Brockington. “I’m so grateful that I get to play at Ashland and be a part of this team.”

Leaving a university you once called home can be tough, but the AU culture made that switch easy for the transfers. Alongside Brockington, Maloney was also complementative of how easy the switch was to becoming an Eagle.

“I went into the portal trying to find a place that could help me grow as a person, mentally, physically and emotionally,” Maloney said. “I feel like I can do that here. I’ve been challenged, encouraged and supported in all ways. I am super thankful I was given this opportunity.”

Molly Dever, who missed the year due to injury, will also make her debut for the team in the 2023-24 season. While the Eagles do lose Maloney to graduation, the team will still have the bright future of Miller and Brockington.

“Something that we do is have a lot of fun, and have a lot of joy. I think if the team always continues that, we will find success,” said Maloney.