By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (July 15, 2017) — Tarleton State will have star forward Mackenzie Hailey in its line up for three more seasons instead of just two.
Head coach Misty Wilson, while discussing her recently completed 2017 recruiting class, revealed she actually learned immediately following their season in March that Hailey was approved for a waiver granting a medical redshirt for the first year of her college career at UT-Arlington.
The NCAA agreed with the claim of Hailey and Wilson that she missed what was classified as her freshman season with a knee injury that required surgery.
Hailey, a Burleson product, was a second-team All-South Central Region and first-team All-Lone Star Conference selection and will again be listed as a sophomore in 2017-18. She led TexAnns to their second LSC tournament championship this past season, giving them automatic access to the NCAA Division II Championship. They were seeded eighth in the South Central Region, losing in the opening round to No. 1 seed and tournament host Colorado State-Pueblo.
Hailey was the MVP of the conference tournament after 23 points and six rebounds in the championship, when Tarleton turned a big early deficit into 80-78 win over Angelo State. She collected 23 points and eight rebounds in the regional quarterfinal against CSUP to end the year averaging 16.1 points and 8.4 boards.
“That’s huge for us, obviously, as a team to get another year with a player of Mack’s quality and stature,” said Wilson. “It’s huge for her, personally, too. She deserves to get to play all four years.”
Tarleton has to replace some key seniors from that team, including all-conference guard Bailey Wipff and forwards Ikpeaku Iwobi and Travanti Downes. But starting guards Kylie Collins and Tiara Tatum return.
Wilson expects immediate contributions from several of the eight new TexAnns especially Division I transfers McKinley Bostad and Katie Webster. Bostad was ranked as high as the No. 21 prospect in Texas as a 2014 senior at Kennedale and brings two years of eligibility with her to Tarleton after playing in 32 games as a true freshman at Arkansas, then sitting out a year as a transfer before averaging 6.5 points and shooting 46 percent as a sophomore at Texas State. Webster also has two seasons remaining after two years at Long Beach State, a California mid-major. Wilson recruited Webster when she was at Rockwall Heath High School, where she earned two 5A district offensive MVP honors.