Purdy alumna transfers to Drury
Roller: Distance from family, friends biggest factor in decision
One of the best female hoops players in Barry County history is moving a little closer to home to finish her basketball career.
Purdy alumna Addy Roller notified Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb., of her intention to leave at the end of the 2014 spring semester. She will enroll at Drury University in Springfield.
"It was a tough decision to leave my teammates," Roller said. "I gave it a lot of thought and prayer, and I decided it was the best thing for me."
The 500 miles that separated her from her home began to weigh heavily upon Roller's mind.
The decision was sealed on March 14, when the Lady Wildcats played an opening round NCAA Division 2 playoff game in Searcy, Ark. A busload of fans from her hometown made the comparatively short, 4-1/2 hour bus trip to watch Roller play.
"That was an emotional game for me," Roller said. "Looking in the stands, I saw so many of my friends and loved ones who sacrificed to come watch me play. I made my mind up then that I wanted to come closer to home."
Roller has always said that her beliefs were faith, family, friends and then everything else, and knowing that her grandparents can watch her play mean the world to her.
The 5-8 Roller was an integral part of Wayne State's run to a 28-5 final record, a 19-3 mark in Northern Sun Athletic Conference play and a run into the NCAA-II Central Region semifinals, where she scored 18 points in their season-ending loss to MIAA power Emporia State. Roller averaged 9.1 points and a conference-leading 4.7 assists, shooting 42 percent from the field, 40 percent from the line and 89 percent (109 of 123) at the free-throw line.
As a freshman, Roller started 24 of Wayne State's 27 games, averaging 8.5 points and 4.3 assists per contest, including a career-high, 27-point game against Northern State. She posted 11 double-digit scoring games this past season, including a rare double-double when she posted 12 points and a career-high 11 assists against Minnesota Duluth in February.
Drury finished 27-4 this past season and advanced to the NCAA-II Elite Eight for the third time in the program's 14-year history. Roller will join former Purdy teammate Shelby White, a pair that combined to lead the Lady Eagles to the 2011 Class 2 state title.
"We are extremely excited to be able to add a player and person the caliber of Addy to our program," said Molly Miller, Drury coach. "Addy was a top prospect out of high school ... and since then, she has expanded her game even more to become a great playmaker and leader on the floor. One of my favorite things about Addy is her work ethic and competitive fire. The combination of her basketball skill, academic success in the classroom and great personality makes her a perfect addition to our squad."
A 2012 graduate of Purdy High School, Roller was one of southwest Missouri's most accomplished athletes. When she graduated, her name was etched in the top 25 of 19 state statistical categories including: holding the Missouri basketball record for career 3-point field goals made (319), 3-point field goals made in a season (120), consecutive games with a made 3-point attempt goal (39) and average made 3-point attempts per game (2.75).
Roller's other record-worthy achievements included:
* Fourth all-time with 3.73 made 3-pointers per game in a season.
* Third all-time with 2.57 made 3-pointers per game in a career.
* Tied for eighth all-time with 97 3-pointers made in a season.
* Tied for the state record for most 3-pointers made in a quarter with five.
* Tied for the state record in free-throw percentage going 16-for-16 from the stripe against Fair Grove.
* Tied for eighth with the most points in a quarter with 20.
Roller was named 2012 Class 2 Player of the Year by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. She was a three-time Class 2 All-State selection and achieved 2,392 career points.
"I chose Drury because I felt like Coach Miller and I connected from the beginning," Roller said. "We both knew what we wanted to accomplish in my final two years of playing, and it was exciting for me to begin that journey. Of course, it also allows me the opportunity to come back closer to home to play with Shelby and for the fans that have traveled to see me play in high school to have the opportunity to watch me play again. Drury is a great school that I cannot wait to become a part of."
Roller will be able to play immediately and will have two years of eligibility left. She will also be a scholarship player for the Lady Panthers.