By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Marisha Wallace was sold on Oklahoma State when the Northern Oklahoma College Enid center visited the OSU campus last May.
So much so that she turned down any other potential suitors and committed to the Cowgirls in the summer.
“I really didn’t consider any other schools,’’ said Wallace, who officially signed with the Cowgirls Wednesday. “It was a real good visit.’’
OSU was especially attractive because it was close to her Midwest City home. She played against some of her future teammates while at both Milwood and Midwest City High Schools.
“I know I have family support there,’’ said the 6-foot-1 sophomore. “I really enjoyed the coaches and the team.’’
She called Cowgirls coach Jim Littell an “amazing man.’’
Littell took the OSU reins after head coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna were killed in a plane crash in November 2011. He led the Cowgirls to the WNIT championship.
“I enjoy his desire and I appreciate the reasons he recruited me,’’ Wallace said. “He knows that I work hard. I admire what they went through last year. They were strong. That (WNIT) was really exciting. They worked hard for that.’’
Unlike many who signed on the first day of the NCAA’s early signing period, Wallace didn’t dream of playing college basketball.
She grew up playing volleyball and didn’t play basketball until her freshman year at Millwood. She admitted she didn’t follow the sport that much.
“I never thought I would go to OSU or play at that level,’’ she said. “I’m proud of my accomplishment.’’
Wallace averaged 15.1 points as a freshman and is averaging 24 points so far this season as a sophomore for the Lady Jets.
“This (early signing) definitely takes some pressure off,’’ Wallace said. “I have worked hard for it. I’m really excited.’’
She said OSU’s offensive style fits her game well. Littell has told her she would be used “like I am here.’’
“I think it’s (Division I) going to be a big adjustment as far as classes and workouts are concerned,’’ Wallace said. “I’m pretty sure it’s something that I can manage.’’
Wallace said, though, her focus will be on the Lady Jets’ 2012-13 season first.
“I’m just thinking about this season,’’ she said. “I want to go to the national tournament.’’
Wallace said she was extra motivated by the Lady Jets falling a game short a year ago after back-to-back trips to the national tournament.
NOC Enid was 28-4, but lost to Northeastern A&M 58-57 in the regional finals.
“We have a good team this year,’’ Wallace said. “If we work hard, it will pay off.’’
Wallace is the third NOC Enid player to sign with the Cowgirls in the program’s history. She was preceded to Stillwater by Nicole Campbell and Megan Byford, both of whom had successful careers there.
She’s the fifth NOC Enid player to sign with a Big 12 school. Kaylee Brown (Kansas) and Darcie Dick (Iowa State) were the other two previous signees.
“I think something like this validates to our future recruits that our kids are being seen,’’ said Lady Jets head coach Scott Morris. “This is a win-win situation.’’
Morris, who has a developed a relationship with the OSU staff, said he was excited for Wallace.
“I know it was a dream of hers to stay close to family,’’ he said. “For selfish reasons, we’re glad she’ll be that close so we can watch her play. It’s quite an opportunity for her. She has developed her game here and has earned the opportunity.’’
Wallace is glad she chose to play at NOC Enid first.
“I got to develop my game here,’’ she said. “I’ve gotten a lot better the past year and I’ve grown a lot. I’m excited I came here first.’’