For the SIU-Edwardsville women’s program, the 2022 recruiting class is coming together with Illinois prep talent.
Its latest commit is Sophie Sullivan, a Willowbrook point guard who spent her underclassmen years Montini. As a junior she helped lead the resurgent Warriors, to a 14-2 record overall, including 6-0 in West Suburban Conference Gold play, as well as a WSC tournament title.
Sullivan, who announced her commitment on August 13, joins Edwardsville’s Macy Silvey in the recruiting class. Illinois-Basketball.com recently profiled Silvey about her decision to stay close to home.
Sullivan will lead the way this season for Willowbrook after the graduation of Taris Thornton, who is now at Eastern Illinois. Still, the Warriors will return a boatload of talent.
I interviewed Sullivan about her college decision, SIUE’s program, the upcoming high school season and much more.
Illinois-Basketball: What were the most crucial factors that went into picking your college, and how nice does it feel to have that decision out of the way when you start your senior year?
Sullivan: I absolutely loved SIUE right when I stepped on campus. Edwardsville is a really beautiful town I would say. I feel like no one really knows it until you get there. It just gave me a feeling of home, and I knew I could end up going there. I’ve also known coach Quigley for a long time. She’s seen me play since I was a freshman at Montini. She’s such a nice person. I can’t wait to learn more from her experiences as a player and a person because we played the same position.
I-B: What appeals to you about what SIUE does on the court?
Sullivan: I really like how they play fast because I’m a point guard and I like to push the ball up the court. I feel like I can contribute a lot with my rebounding because for like a smaller guard I would say I can rebound amongst the bigger players and that’ll help get the ball up the court in transition.
I-B: With last year being an odd season, what did you get out of your junior year at Willowbrook and what are you hoping to get out of your senior season?
Sullivan: I was leading on the court, but not so much vocally because I was younger with a bunch of upperclassmen. But then as I got to Willowbrook I think I really took on a leadership role and I helped my team to the first conference championship in a long time. So that was really exciting for my team and for the girls in general. Especially for the seniors to end on a win against a really good (Lyons Township) team was really awesome.
I’m really excited for this year. Especially when I was a freshman, I always looked forward to being a senior and being able to lead all the team workouts and lead the team in general. I feel like the girls really looked up to me and the other upperclassmen on the team since there’s not really a lot of us. There’s two seniors and seven juniors and we have a pretty young team I would say.
I-B: Now that you’ve committed, what are your long-term goals on or off the court?
Sullivan: I’m going to work really hard in this offseason my senior year, and then when I get to SIUE I hope to make the biggest impact possible, whether that be what I do on the court or how I’m cheering my teammates on the bench. I’m thinking about majoring in physical therapy or as a physical education teacher. And then maybe train kids when I’m older on the side.
I-B: When the coaching staff spoke with you, was there anything about your game that they really liked or really wanted you to work on?
Sullivan: I know coach Quigley has always loved how hard of a worker I was, and she’s seen it in me since I was younger so she knew I would be an impact on the program in that way. She was just saying how she likes to recruit great players and people, so not just on the court but how they are off the court as well.
I-B: When was the first time coach Quigley saw you play?
Probably as a freshman at open gym when she was the coach at Lewis [University, in Romeovillle].
I-B: Anything else we should know about your commitment or the upcoming season?
For the upcoming high school season, I’m excited because hopefully we’ll have playoffs and everything, and I would love to help lead Willowbrook to the most wins as possible, and maybe regional and even sectional titles.
Expected Illinois natives on the 2021-22 SIUE roster:
- Redshirt junior Madison Hackstadt (Okawville native, Okawville graduate)
- Grad Student Allie Troeckler (Bethalto native, Civic Memorial graduate)
- Sophomore Caite Knutson (Maryville native, Collinsville graduate)
- Senior Mikala Hall (Danville native, Danville graduate)
- Freshman Tyler Butler (Belleville native, Belleville East graduate)