Lady Panthers land former Ava standout Sara Mendel


SPRINGFIELD, MO.—The Drury Lady Panthers have added Sara Mendel, a 6-2 center out of Ava, Missouri, to their 2023-24 signing class.

 Mendel was the state’s Co-Player of the Year in Class 4 as she averaged 18.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1.8 steals for Ava High School last year. She was named the Player of the Year in the South Central Association and in District 11 for the second year in a row.

“We are excited to add a local talent with great size,” said Drury Lady Panthers head coach Kaci Bailey. “Her ability to score and rebound are what we need around the rim. Sara knows how to compete and win!”  

Mendel scored 1,485 points and had 911 rebounds in her career and has been named an All-State performer for two straight seasons. She led the Bears to three-straight district titles and 21 wins or more in her three seasons on the varsity squad and was named to this year’s Springfield News-Leader’s Dominant Dozen list of the top 12 players in southwest Missouri. 

Mendel is the second state Player of the Year to sign with the Lady Panthers in this off-season as Drury also landed the Class 2 Co-Player of the Year, Kaylee King, out of Ellington High School.

Drury’s signing class now includes: Makaiya Brooks (Jr., G, 5-8, Memphis/Central HS, Springfield, Mo.), Beth Matas Martin (Gr., G, 5-6, Quincy/Garden City CC, Girona, Spain), Gabby Burns (Sr, G, 5-11, Quincy/Liberty North HS, Kansas City, Mo.), and Kaylee King (Fr., G, 5-6, Ellington HS, Ellington, Mo.), Quincy Erickson (Sr., G, 6-0, Houston Christian/ Mineral Area CC/Hermann HS, Washington, Mo.), and Sydney Hobbs (Jr., G/F, 5-11, New Mexico St. JC/Texas-Permian Basin/Onate HS, Las Cruces, NM). 

The Lady Panthers also return six players that went 31-2, 20-0 in the GLVC, won the conference championship, advanced to the NCAA-II Tournament and ended the year ranked 8th nationally in the final NCAA-II coaches’ poll.

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