This week’s Pilot in the Spotlight is Haylee Andrews, who has stepped it up in her first year to lead the women’s basketball team last Saturday in a game against BYU. The freshman guard scored a game-high 19 points against the Cougars, helping her team stay ahead of the opponent throughout most of the most of the game until a final run gave BYU the lead and the Pilots fell, 79-71.
“I thought our game against BYU was the best we’ve played as a team all season,” Andrews said in an email. “It sucked that we didn’t reward ourselves with a win, but it was a great learning experience for everyone. The team was amazing; we stuck to our game plan and got the shots we wanted.”
Having scored 10 points during the first 20 minutes of the game, Andrews brought a lot of energy to the court. She finished the first quarter with a layup to beat the buzzer and give the Pilots an early 12-point lead. While the Cougars ultimately won, Andrews proved that she can level up to competitive teams — BYU is first in the WCC with an 8-0 record in conference play — and assume a leading role as a freshman.
Continuing her crucial role on the team, Andrews scored 12 points against the Santa Clara Broncos Thursday night and 19 points against the San Francisco Dons on Saturday. Before facing BYU, she scored 16 points against the San Diego Toreros.
Andrews started playing basketball at seven years old, and went on to play with the Townsville Flames in the QBL semiprio league in Australia. With the Pilots, she has quickly established herself as a key player. She has scored a total of 247 points in her first season on The Bluff, with a game high of 23 points. And while Andrews has had the opportunity to show off her skills here in Portland, her decision to play for UP was based on her current teammates.
“I ended up at UP because I really liked the campus and girls on the team,” Andrews said. “They are all super nice and were very welcoming.”
In Australia, Andrews won gold at the D2 Australian Championships with the Flames. She was also a developmental player for Townsville Fire at the level equal to that of the WNBA. In Portland, she is contributing to a team that is looking to turn things around for the women’s basketball program. And while the Pilots aren’t where they want to be in terms of conference play, they have already shown slight improvement in overall play, with a current overall record of 10-10.
“We’ve grown so much as a team and what we need to be better at,” Andrews said. “We’ve started to play really good basketball over the last few games and expectation is to keep getting better. It’s a crucial time of the season, so it’s important that we win these next few games.”
Ana Clyde is a sports reporter at The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.