By Oliver Lees
Sunbury Jets product Ally Stewart has inked a deal to start a new chapter of her US college basketball journey at William Penn University in Iowa.
Stewart improved across all statistical categories from her freshman to sophomore year to garner a number of offers from division one ranked colleges across the US.
Taking on the lead scoring position at Southeast Community College (SCC) in Nebraska, Stewart averaged 15 points per game on 40 per cent shooting from the field and 85 per cent from the free throw line for the 2020-2021 season.
She also contributed more than three assists and six rebounds per game across the season.
Stewart leaves SCC as the player with the most three-point field goals made in the school’s history.
The move to William Penn University will see Stewart transition from the junior college (JUCO) basketball system to the higher grade National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA).
“I’m such an instinct person, I knew when I came here that it would be the place for me,” Stewart said.
“They have such a professional mindset and I also liked that they’re smaller and seemed more family oriented.
“Coming from a JUCO, school that was kind of like a foot in the door to really try and make an impact and develop.
“Being looked at by a school like this was just an honour to be honest, they’re making national tournaments pretty much every year.”
Before she was making history in the states, Stewart played an important role as a junior guard for the Jets in the Big V youth league.
She was involved in a Jets side that featured prominently in finals, including a 2018 title win where she poured in 13 points to lift them to their second championship in as many years.
Stewart said the transition from Sunbury to Nebraska carried its challenges, as she went from being a junior player on an experienced team, to someone that was expected to lead the scoring charge on a team of youngsters.
“I’ve just developed my game so much overall [since moving to the US],” she said.
“The number one thing was my confidence. I got the role of being a heavy scorer straight away, so I had to really up my leadership skills.
“I was told I’m a very selfless player, I was always trying to find someone else when I had the ball. But now I’ve learnt that if I’ve got the opportunity score, I’m taking it every day.”
With the next season set to kick off in October, Stewart said she’s settling into her new demanding schedule, with daily study and training requirements.
With this her third year in the college system, Stewart said she’s doing what she loves, working on her game and taking each challenge as it comes.
“I want to just keep playing whether that’s in another country or back in Australia, I just want to keep going and see where my ability can take me,” she said.