‘Once an Eagle always an Eagle’


Kelli Taylor/file

Senior Kendra Gillispie, pictured here as a junior at a game in late 2019, just announced her college plans.

Faith Morrison, Reporter

“Deceptively athletic perimeter prospect rebounds and handles in uptempo game; weaves through traffic and finishes plays in transition game; creates in the key, elevates on jumper in the lane, brings consistent offensive production in the key; pounds the glass, exploits mismatches” This is how senior Kendra Gillispie was described on ESPNs top 100 women’s college basketball recruitment list.

Gillispie was ranked ninth in position rank and 58th overall out of the top 100 recruits in the country.

“My entire life I have worked hard for moments like these,” Gillispie said. “As a kid I always said I was going to play professional women’s basketball and I still do want to play professionally.” Kendra has been “One to watch” according to okchoops.com since she was 13 and “received 14 letters from Division One Schools.”

Kendra originally committed to the University of Mississippi in the fall of 2019 then opened her options back during April this year. On Oct. 4 Gillispie officially became the second committed recruit to Marquette’s Golden Eagles. Last year, she helped Harding’s Lady Eagles soar through an incredible 22-8 season.

Gillispie has been coached by her mother Latesha Woods.

“My mom is my biggest inspiration,” Gillispie said. “If it was not for her I would not be here nor be the person and player I am today.”

“My favorite memory of watching and coaching Kendra was a summer game versus Urban Heroes and they had a top recruit on the team and we were chasing scholarships,” Woods said.  “There were about 75 Division I coaches sitting on the baseline with their scouting books out. It was nerve-racking. Kendra was the baby on the team and all of my soon-to-be seniors did come ready to play. The first two minutes of the game were rough and was on its way to embarrassment until Kendra stepped up and went on a run all by herself.”
“I love coaching her as my daughter and as an athlete she is all around the best,” Woods continued. “She makes things so easy for everyone around her by simply doing her part and then some. I will never coach an athlete with her skill set.”