Crowder sophomores Bethaney Gilkey and Maegan Bandimere became the latest Crowder women’s basketball players to continue their academic and athletic careers at the four-year level when they signed their letters of intent Tuesday afternoon with NAIA Park University (Gilkey) and NCAA Division III University of the Ozarks (Bandimere).
“Being not completely familiar with the programs they’re going to,” Crowder head coach Tina Wilson said, “it’s hard to predict. I don’t know their personnel or anything. Any time you move up a level, it’s all dependent upon your work ethic and how hard are you going to work and how committed are you going to be to stepping into a new program and making your presence felt.
“Maegan had a good two years here and she’s a good shooter, has a high basketball I.Q., good passer, created a lot of mismatches for teams with her height and length.
“B. showed tremendous improvement the two years that she was here. She hadn’t played a lot of basketball and started kinda late. She did a great job of committing herself to get the most out of her abilities. She continues to be in the gym now and spends a lot of time, so I’m excited to see her growth and improvement continue the next two years with her work ethic.”
Bandimere, a Fort Smith (Arkansas) native, chose a school one hour away from home.
“There were a lot of factors that played into it,” Bandimere said, “but ultimately, I just loved the atmosphere of the school and the coaches were great. I loved the ultimate feel when I visited. Everybody was nice.”
Bandimere, who appeared in 31 and started 23 games during her sophomore campaign, averaged 10 points, four rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. She made nearly 82 percent of her free throws and she hit 51 3-point shots.
As a freshman, Bandimere averaged 5.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists, and she converted on 90.3 percent of her free throws.
University of the Ozarks finished 13-13 overall and 9-7 in the American Southwest Conference, which includes 13 schools split into East and West divisions.
The Lady Eagles are coached by Kourtni Williams, who completed her first season as head coach.
Gilkey, a Danville (Arkansas) native, inked with a Kansas City (Missouri) area school nearly six hours away from her home.
“There’s a lot of big factors,” Gilkey said. “I talked with the coaching staff and they’re super helpful making my decision. I felt like I would be a great fit for them. That’s why I chose Park.”
Gilkey, who appeared in all 32 games her sophomore season, averaged 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds; she netted 50 percent of her shots from the field.
Park, a member of the American Midwest Conference, finished 11-17 overall and 10-14 AMC.