Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College basketball coach Deanna Bradley didn’t get to see Mt. Carmel senior Jessica Gill play a lot in high school. But, what she saw and knew of the Lady Aces senior left an impression.
“I honestly think better playing days are ahead for her,” Bradley said. “I know her playing time was limited in high school but I think she needs a chance to prove herself and we’re going to give her that chance.”
Though she had to fight for playing time last year on a loaded 32-1 Lady Aces team that included the school’s first-ever undefeated regular season, Gill learned her craft well enough to land a scholarship to play at the four-year Terre Haute, Ind. school. She signed a national letter of intent during a Thursday press conference at Mt. Carmel High School.
“It was my No. 1 pick,” said Gill of the school, the nation’s oldest Catholic women’s college. “I get a good education and I get to play basketball.”
What Bradley and her assistants thought they saw in Gill was then verified during a campus visit in April. “We introduced a little of what we’re going to do when we had a lot of our recruits come to campus. (Gill) picked it up just like that,” Bradley said.
Gill is exactly the type of person she wants on the Pomeroy team. “We want kids who are used to winning, regardless of what their part is in that, whether small or large,” Bradley said. “You have to have role players plus kids who are going to play a lot, and they all have to come together as a unit.”
St. Mary is bringing in four guards and only two post players (5-foot-6 Gill and a 6-foot-2 signee) in this recruiting class. That’s because the Pomeroys “literally want to run and gun” in the style of Loyola Marymount, according to Bradley. “What we’ve got coming in with our new class is really going to help us” with that offense, she said.
Gill’s adjustment should be minimal, given the up tempo Lady Aces offense she just graduated from. Yet, “footwork and speed,” will be the biggest challenges ahead, according to Gill, who will major in Education at St. Mary.
She won’t be alone. “(Speed) is going to be the challenge for all our kids we bring in that are not point guards,” Bradley said.
The Pomeroys, who play an independent schedule in the Division I ranks of the USCAA, were 7-19 last year, splitting with area school Oakland City University during the regular season. Lindenwood-Belleville, another opponent on the schedule, finished second in the national USCAA tournament at Uniontown, Pa.