Loyola commit Ramage ranges from confident to unstoppable
Before Mattoon High School and Indiana Elite Havoc standout guard Mallory Ramage ever received a single collegiate offer, the then-sophomore provided one of her AAU coaches a list of schools.
“I did look into the (Loyola) basketball team actually, and I gave Dan (Gates) a list of colleges that I was really interested in and were on my list,” Ramage said. “I know a while back the (Ramblers) boys did really good, so I’ve known about the program for a while.”
The 5-9 junior who received her offer from the Ramblers this past July 15, committed on Nov. 4 to be part of the Missouri Valley Conference program in Chicago. Ramage said that Gates was especially helpful with recruiting, and feels that her time with Indiana Elite Havoc pushed her to this level.
Having also received offers from the likes of IUPUI, Wofford, Indiana State, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Eastern Illinois, and North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW), Ramage was a bonafide Division I inevitability.
After doing a virtual tour of the Loyola campus and Zoom calls with members of the team, Ramage feels supremely confident in her choice. The feedback she received from Loyola coaches, like head coach Kate Achter and assistant Frank Goldsberry, have reinforced her good feelings about the program.
“Frank Goldsberry, he has helped me a lot,” Ramage said. “He gives me homework actually when I talk to him. He loves my game and he always gives me things I can work on, which I love.”
After starting basketball as a fourth-grader, Ramage had a desire to play college basketball by the time she reached fifth grade. She noted that coach Greg Smith helped her to elevate her game early, and still helps train her.
And to be the type of player whose shooting percentages cause anxiety in the hearts and minds of opposing coaches didn’t come by chance.
“In fifth grade (my shooting) was not good,” Ramage said. “But I’ve just worked every day since. A lot of hard work after practices. I always stay and shoot extra after. Basically, I’m not scared to shoot during a game. You can’t really be scared to shoot.”
Right from the start of her high school career Ramage was a terror on the court, demonstrating a consistent, left-handed dominant shot that allowed her to shoot high percentages from around the perimeter. Her court vision, ability to finish around the rim and mid-range shot propelled her to freshman averages of 19.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals, per the Decatur Herald & Review.
“As a freshman I was nervous,” Ramage said. “I think everyone is as a freshman, but I basically was just myself and played the best I can play.”
Her coach at Mattoon, Amanda Aydt, noted Ramage’s will to improve was the driving force behind making her not only a player of the caliber she is, but also the leader for the Green Wave.
“She can handle the ball, score off the dribble, shoot from anywhere on the floor, and find her open teammates,” Aydt said. “She knows when to push the ball, when to attack the basket and when to set up and run our offense. With her ball-handling skills, she is able to create so many opportunities for herself and her teammates.”
As a sophomore, Ramage made an even bigger name for herself, leading Mattoon to a 27-6 record and an undefeated 12-0 Apollo Conference championship-winning season, as well as a Class 2A regional championship. She racked up accolades like Class 3A Associated Press all-state honorable mention and Decatur Herald & Review’s Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year this past season. She scored a 21.5 points per game and was 175-of-211 (.829) on two-point shots and 57-of-102 (.559) from beyond the arc. She also and “led the team in steals, assists, rebounds and blocks at 3.5, 2.5, 4.4 and 0.4 per game, respectively.”
“At her best, she is unstoppable,” Aydt said. “She plays at a high level and pushes everyone around her to raise their game as well. She is an outstanding player who can do anything. Mallory has an incredible will to win. She is driven to become the best player she can be. Mallory can do everything on the basketball court.”
That will is demonstrated as well when the long, lanky Ramage fights for rebounds.
“A lot of guards that are just a little bit smaller than me,” Ramage said. “They’re not rebounding, but I really like to rebound a lot and get down under the basket. I think my height helps me a lot.”
Now, that itch to get back on the court is strong as ever. She misses her teammates and the bond they have formed personally and on the floor, where the Green Wave improved from 16-16 in 2018-2019 to one of the stalwarts of Southern Illinois a season ago.
The expectations lobbed upon her help feed her will to improve.
“Coach Aydt, I really like her, she’s been amazing,” Ramage said. “She’s helped me a lot and she does expect a lot out of me on the floor. And I really like my relationship with her and then all of the girls on the team, we really like hanging out and team bonding.
“We improved a lot,” Ramage added. “Our team chemistry even got a lot better than it already was. We worked as a team, had a lot of fun. Just because we have a lot of fun it makes it so much better.”