Before her junior season, Mallory Ramage knew where she wanted to go. 

Ramage took her game to a whole new level as a sophomore. Her reward? The Mattoon High School senior is looking at playing basketball at the Division I level. On Wednesday, Ramage officially signed her letter of intent to NCAA Division I’s Loyola University. 

“It’s nice because now I will be able to relax,” said Ramage. “I’m happy it’s official because now I know where I am going to school.”

Loyola University is a private Catholic university in Chicago, Illinois with an enrollment of close to 12,000. In 2018, the university was put on the map when the men’s basketball team made the Final Four, while 101-year old Sister Jean has become an international figure. 

The women’s team was 12-15 last season with an 8-10 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference. The 2019-2020 season where the team went 15-14 was the best record since head coach Kate Achter took over four years ago. 

According to Ramage, she had offers from Indiana State, North Carolina Wilmington, Chattanooga, IUPUI, and Eastern Illinois University, but it was the coaches at Loyola that helped sway her decision. 

“It’s been a lot of practice each day working on getting better,” said Ramage. “My travel basketball coach has reached out to colleges. They saw me play and now I just want to continue working my hardest.”

Loyola is going to get one of the best players in Central Illinois, if not the state. Ramage, a 5-9 guard, helped Mattoon go 27-6 overall and 12-0 in the Apollo Conference as well as win a Class 3A regional championship in 2019-2020. Last year, in a COVID-shortened season, Ramage made First Team All-Apollo for the third consecutive season, where Mattoon finished 7-3 on the year, including a 5-3 mark in the conference. 

As a sophomore, Ramage was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player and was an honorable mention Associated Press all-state player. As a freshman, Ramage averaged a team-leading 19.3 points to go with 5.4 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 0.8 assists per game.  

“At her best, she is unstoppable,” said Mattoon head coach Amanda Aydt when she verbally committed last year. “She plays at a high level and pushes everyone around her to raise their game as well. She is an outstanding player that can do anything. Mallory has an incredible will to win. She is driven to become the best player she can be. Mallory can do everything on the basketball court.”

Ramage knows there is a chance that her role could change in college, but she believes that she can contribute in the same capacity as she does for the Green Wave. At the end of the day, Ramage does not care if she scores or passes, she just wants to help the team win. 

“I have always been a team player that wants to make my teammates better,” said Ramage. “I want to always try and get good baskets. Mentally, it’s always doing my best and staying positive.”

Ramage contributes a lot of her success to her coaches and her family. 

“First off, my mom, dad, and sister have helped so much,” said Ramage. “Greg Smith has been my travel coach since I was in fifth grade. He has still helped me improve my game and has always been there for me. Coach Adyt has reached out to a lot of coaches and talked to Loyola a lot. Ever since middle school, I’ve always wanted to be a D1 athlete. That was always the goal.”