Sycamores sign Austin Peay transfer Ella Sawyer ahead of 2022-23 season

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State head women’s basketball coach Chad Killinger announced the addition of guard Ella Sawyer to the program Monday afternoon.

“We’re extremely happy to have Ella joining our program and look forward to her bringing another level of competitiveness and versatility to our roster,” Killinger said. “She can play all three guard spots, which adds to our depth, and can contribute in multiple ways, whether that be scoringmates, rebounding, defending or creating opportunities for her teammates. Her size and strength will be a great fit for the types of perimeter players we face on a consistent basis in conference play, and she is truly a ‘gym rat’ type of kid that’s not going to let anyone outwork her.”

Sawyer joins the Sycamores after spending the past three seasons at Austin Peay, where she emerged as a key contributor for the Governors. She started 71 of the 76 games she played, averaging 7.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while helping lead Austin Peay to a 50-36 record in her three seasons. Austin Peay finished .500 or above in each of her three seasons, including the first 20-win season in nearly 20 years for the program in the 2021-22 campaign. Sawyer was a member of the 2019-20 OVC All-Newcomer Team and has been a part of the OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll twice.

Sawyer started all 32 games she appeared in during the 2021-22 season, averaging 5.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while ranking second on the team in minutes played with 27.5 per game. She finished the season ranked in the top 10 of the Ohio Valley Conference in assists, while also ranking in the top 20 in the OVC in rebounds. Sawyer had six games with double-figure scoring for the Governors, including a season-high 15 points in a win over Tennessee Tech. She also had two games with nine rebounds, including a near double-double performance with 10 points and nine boards in a win over Tennessee State. Sawyer had five games with five or more assists, including a career-high eight in a win over Bellarmine. She helped lead Austin Peay to her first postseason win in school history, finishing with four points and five rebounds in a 73-59 victory over Furman in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

The Adelaide, Australia, native started nine of the 14 games she played in for Austin Peay during the 2020-21 season, finishing with averages of 6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while averaging 29.3 minutes per game, a mark that ranked second on the team. She had a season-high 15 points off the bench in her first game of the season, a come-from-behind win over Murray State. Sawyer also added double-figure scoring games against Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State, while grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds in a win over Jacksonville State.

Sawyer burst on the scene during the 2019-20 season, starting all 30 games for Austin Peay while averaging a team-high 26.0 minutes per game. She averaged a career-best 9.3 points per game, while also grabbing 3.1 rebounds and dishing out 2.7 assists per contest, earning a spot on the Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer Team in the process. Sawyer had back-to-back games with 20-plus points to close the regular season, scoring 21 in a win over Morehead State and dropping a career-high 26 points, including six 3-pointers, in a win over Murray State to earn OVC Newcomer of the Week honors. She had 13 games with double-figure scoring, including a 16-point outing in her collegiate debut against Kentucky Wesleyan. Sawyer was also the first Austin Peay player to start every game as a freshman since 2002-03

Sawyer is a familiar face to at least one current Sycamore, as both she and guard Natalia Lalic are both Adelaide, Australia, natives. She joins Lalic (2020-present), Essy Latu (2020-22) and Ashley Taia (2015-18) as Australians to play at the Indiana State.

Sawyer joins incoming freshmen Bella Finnegan and Lily Niebuhr, who both signed in November, and Nicholls transfer Chelsea Cain, who signed earlier this month, as additions to the Sycamore roster for the 2022-23 season.

Indiana State Women’s Basketball 2022-23 Newcomers

Chelsea Cain // 6-0 // F // Prairieville, La. // Dutchtown HS/Nicholls State
Bella Finnegan // 6-0 // G // Hometown, Ill. // Mother McAuley HS
Lily Niebuhr // 6-3 // C // Chaska, Minn. // Chaska HS
Ella Sawyer // 5-9 // G // Adelaide, Australia // Cabra Dominican College/Austin Peay

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