Lady Bears ink two forwards, guard for next season

SPRINGFIELD — A trio high school seniors signed National Letters of Intent Wednesday to play basketball for Missouri State, head coach Kellie Harper announced. Abby Hipp, Elle Ruffridge and Sydney Schultz will join the Lady Bears as freshmen for the 2017-18 season.

“We are very happy to be adding three talented and competitive basketball players to our Lady Bears family today,” Harper said of her fourth signing class at MSU. “These young ladies will be wonderful assets to our program and bring a solid skill set to the court.”

Abby Hipp • 6-2 • F • Kansas City, Mo. • St. Pius X High
The 2016-17 season will be Hipp’s fourth year as a starter for St. Pius X, and she has helped the Warriors increase their win total each season. Hipp averaged 14.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.1 blocks per game as a junior, breaking her own school record by shooting 59 percent from the floor as the team won its second consecutive conference title and placed third in the state tournament after winning a school-record 26 games.

She earned all-state honors from the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association as both a junior and sophomore, and has been an all-conference and all-district selection each of her first three seasons. On pace to set school records for career assists and rebounds, Hipp averaged 14.1 points, 9.3 boards, 2.9 assists and 2.2 blocks while shooting 56 percent as a sophomore, and tallied 11.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 blocks per game during her freshman campaign. Her father, Tom Hipp, played basketball at Siena College in Albany, N.Y.

Harper on Hipp:
“Abby Hipp is a versatile post player, as she can score inside or out. She is intelligent, a good passer, and has a good work ethic.”

Elle Ruffridge • 5-3 • G • Pocahontas, Iowa • Pocahontas Area High
The 2016 Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year and two-time reigning Iowa Basketball Coaches Association Class 3A Player of the Year, Elle (pronounced Ellie) Ruffridge enters her senior season already ranked 13th in Iowa girls basketball history in career scoring (2,111), third with 309 3-pointers, and eighth with 599 assists. Ruffridge guided the Indians to a 27-0 record and state title as a junior, leading the state in both scoring with 766 points (28.4/game) and 230 assists (8.5/game). Her point total was the eighth-best in Iowa history for a single season.

Ruffridge hit 116 treys as a sophomore and 114 as a junior, leading the state both seasons with two of the three 100 3-pointer campaigns in state history. She set Iowa’s sophomore scoring record with 733 points (27.1/game) that year to lead the state, adding 199 assists (7.4/game) to rank second. Ruffridge set Iowa’s freshman scoring mark with 612 points (24.5/game) in 2013-14, leading the state with 79 triples and ranking third with 170 assists for a 6.8 average.

Ruffridge was a first-team all-state selection by multiple outlets as both a sophomore and junior, and earned a second-team nod from the Des Moines Register and the Iowa Girls Coaches Association following her freshman season. She has guided Pocahontas Area High to a combined 73-6 record through her first three seasons, with a state runner-up finish in 2015 in addition to the 2016 title. Ruffridge also spent four seasons as the libero for her volleyball team, and earned several high finishes at the state cross country and track and field meets.

Harper on Ruffridge:
“Elle Ruffridge is a terrific shooter and a skilled ball handler and passer. She is also a hard-working guard who is a proven winner.”

Sydney Schultz • 6-2 • F • Aurora, Ill. • Oswego East High
Schultz has led Oswego East to new heights during her career, including school’s first conference and regional championships in 2016 after going 27-3 overall and 14-0 in the Southwest Prairie Conference her junior season. Schultz already owns OEHS records for career rebounds and blocked shots, leading the team in boards twice in her first three years. A three-time all-conference selection, Schultz earned honorable mention all-state honors from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association as a junior, averaging 10.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 4.1 blocks per game to go with a team-high 37 steals.

Harper on Schultz:
“Sydney Shultz is a hard-working post player. She is a solid passer and is productive offensively and on the boards.”

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