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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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Buzzelle’s confidence rises since transferring

Sophomore guard Ellie Buzzelle is 31st in the country in three-point percentage with 41.7%. (File)

Sophomore guard Ellie Buzzelle began her college career at Grand Canyon University before transferring to Eastern after one year. Now at Eastern, she leads the team in three-pointers made and three-point percentage, as well as being third in minutes played.

“Coming here was more of a culture thing for me,” Buzzelle said. “The girls and the coaches were great to me on my visit. Definitely the amenities and things like that were a switch for me, so it took me a while to get used to, but coming here I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls and a better coaching staff that supports and gives me confidence.”

While at Grand Canyon, Buzzelle shot 28% from three and had a field goal percentage of 30.8. In her first year at Eastern, she has surpassed that shooting 41.7% from three and 37.6% from the field. She also has made more threes this season than anyone at Eastern did last year with 53. Last year, junior guard Miah Monahan had 36 made threes.

“I’m trying to put my finger on it. I don’t really know why,” Buzzelle said. “I think if I still was at GCU I still would have a pretty good percentage, but coming here I think, especially the coaches that I work out with, they’ve given me a lot of confidence to just let it fly. I’ve never shot this well in my life. It’s pretty insane, but these girls and this coaching staff gives me confidence. Whenever I’m open, let it fly, and if I miss, you know, I’m not letting anybody down.”

Buzzelle said in a post on her blog that she doesn’t “feel content and worthy when I make a shot or a good play anymore. I’m content with whatever performance happens that specific day.”

She said that taking that mindset helped her to be able to perform the way she is this season.

“Last year I think the biggest thing for me was that I was very content with making others proud of me, whether that’s coaching staff or teammates. That’s what was my validation for makes and things like that, and here I don’t look to anybody but myself for validation and the Lord,” Buzzelle said. “I don’t try and make anybody else proud; that’s not my goal. I just try and help my team win, and if I miss a shot, it may disappoint a couple people, but I’m not looking for their validation anymore.”

That attitude has shown this season with Buzzelle taking and making multiple clutch shots.

When the Panthers played at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville earlier in the season, they were down by one. Buzzelle was able to make a three-pointer to put them up by one with 27 seconds left. She would then go on and make five straight free throws to put the game away.

Three games later, she was able to do it again when Eastern was down 61-67 to Morehead State University with a little under two minutes left. Buzzelle would then go on to hit two threes, tying the game up with nine seconds left on the clock. Morehead would then make a layup to put them up by two, and head coach Matt Bollant said that they drew up a play for Buzzelle.

“We ran a set play to get her a shot there,” Bollant said. “She makes them, so it just gives you confidence to say, ‘Hey that might be the girl that we want to run something for to try to get her a shot in a situation because she’s done it before.’”

Against Tennessee Tech University last Thursday, she didn’t take the shot but assisted on it with a pass to junior forward Macy McGlone, who was able to win the game.

Buzzelle is also important to the team’s success because the team is 4-2 in games where she scores 15 or more points. Those two losses came to the University of New Mexico, where they lost 78-81 in overtime, and against Morehead State, where they lost 67-69.

Buzzelle said that she doesn’t think that she is a clutch player, and that all her life she had been scared of those moments.

“I don’t know how I’ve all of the sudden become calm in those moments, but I think it’s just my foundation off the court that I’m not really made for. I mean I play great basketball. I’m made for more than basketball,” Buzzelle said. “I think that gives me validation that if I mess up, it’s not the end of the world, and I think it just gives me the calm nerves to not get so nervous in those moments in which other people have struggles with getting nervous in those moments.”

With her three-point shooting success, Bollant said that she has the green light to shoot whenever she feels she is open.

“For her, there’s really not too many threes that are bad shots because she can shoot it quickly and shoot it with range,” Bollant said.

Buzzelle said that knowing that she has the green light as a shooter gives her a lot of confidence, even if it’s contested.

“[The coaches] know the work I’ve put in. They’ve seen the amount of makes I make in practice or in workouts and they support me and to just shoot it,” Buzzelle said. “That’s my job on this team, that’s my role. So if I go like yesterday, I was one for six. That’s going to happen some games or five for five. That’s my role, so I just shoot it when I’m open.”


Luther Yoder can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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Luther Yoder
Luther Yoder, Assistant Sports Editor
Luther Yoder is a sophomore journalism major. This is his first year at The News.

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