GREENFIELD - Though she didn't perform up to her own standards in the Girls Junior Indiana vs. Kentucky All-Star game at Greenfield Central High School, recent Ball State verbal commit Nakeya Penny is ready to learn from it.
The 5-foot-11 forward from Logansport went scoreless on 0-for-2 shooting in just under 18 minutes Friday, as Indiana ran away with a 98-67 victory, so Penny found comfort in having played alongside the state's top players.
“Playing with the these girls right here has been a fun experience for me,” she said.
Penny still has a season remaining with the Berries, but is already looking forward to joining the Cardinal program.
“I'm very excited,” Penny said. “I've been there a couple times. I like the team, and I like the coaching staff. I'm ready to get my senior year over and look toward the future.”
The Cardinals finished the regular season with a 14-15 record after winning three straight to cap the 2013-14 campaign. Ball State carried momentum into the Mid-American Conference tournament and advanced to the championship game before falling to Akron, 79-68.
The tournament run earned Ball State a second-consecutive at-large berth in the Women's National Invitational Tournament. Head coach Brady Sallee is entering his third year with Ball State, and has pulled strong recruit classes in each of his first two seasons. Penny said she is excited to join a team on the upswing, and can't wait to contribute.
“I like the way they play as a team, and the coaches are just really fun to be around,” she said.
Tina Lipply, Nakeya's mother, is no stranger to the hardwood and is excited for her daughter to attend Ball State. Lipply's father lived in Muncie, so she is familiar with campus, and feels it's a perfect fit for Penny -- her third child to play collegiate basketball.
“I'm a basketball mom,” Lipply said. “I've raised two others as well.”
Penny's older sister, Jasmine, just finished her senior season at DePaul. Penny's brother played his freshman season in Arizona. Lipply said she knows what her next college prospect is capable of, and wants to see her be more aggressive in the future.
Penny shared the sentiment.
“I didn't do very well myself, but my team did and we pulled it out,” she said. “I need to do better myself as a player to get myself open next time.”