Sophomore Iowa native Elle Ruffridge has certainly made her impact on campus and in women’s basketball.
The Lady Bears guard holds multiple high school state records in Iowa and helped lead the Missouri State team to the Sweet 16 this year.
How sweet it is
“Who would have thought?” Ruffridge said. “We went one in seven for our first eight games. Then we won the conference tournament. And then won a game in the tournament and then two, moving on to the Sweet 16. I mean, it’s just crazy!”
When Ruffridge first stepped on campus, it felt like home.
“I could definitely see myself here for the next four years and see myself starting my future here,” Ruffridge said.
The family atmosphere she found within her team and coaches helped to make the university an environment of support.
She needed that support as she made the transition from high school to college.
“People don’t really understand what student-athletes go through,” Ruffridge said. “It can take a toll. That was a really big adjustment for me last year.”
She found her confidence relying on her teammates.
“I’ve grown so much as a person and as a player.”
Off the court
Ruffridge works hard to find a balance between her sport and her academics, especially her practicum work at Greenwood Elementary.
“I love it,” Ruffridge said. “I love the kids and my practicum teacher. I just love being in the classroom.”
Both of her parents are educators and coaches.
“I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the trees,” Ruffridge said. “I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a teacher.”
Ruffridge hopes she can make a difference and put a smile on each of her student’s faces.
“I want to help them achieve their goals. Whatever that is.”
The work she does on the court has helped her in her classroom. She explained the life lessons she’s learned from her sport.
“You face so many challenges,” she said. “Even though you may have a hard practice or a difficult day, the sun will rise again tomorrow. I think that’s the same mentality you have to have as a teacher.”
Continuing a legacy
“The Lady Bears have such a rich tradition in basketball, and we’re kind of putting Missouri State back on the map,” Ruffridge said.
The Lady Bears Sweet 16 run ended in a 55-46 loss against Stanford, but Ruffridge and the team aren’t discouraged.
“Every day is a new opportunity,” Ruffridge said. “It’s just motivation for next year.”