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STRAFFORD — Zoey Mullings, one of the area’s premier outside shooters and all-around players, is taking her game to Drury next season.
At 5’7, Mullings is an inside-outside player who can handle the ball, score in a variety of ways and is known for her soft outside shooting touch.
She has been a big part of a Strafford program that continues to make its mark in area basketball lore and is now 25-0 this season.
SWMOBasketball recently caught up with Mullings and asked her about her senior season and decision to become a Lady Panther.
SWMO — How would you describe your style of play in your position to those who have never seen you before?
Zoey — I have always been taught to be a team player and leader on the floor. With it being my senior year I have taken on the leadership role. We always dedicate our games to our Heavenly Father which is how we start games. I lead prayer before the game starts. I have been encouraging my teammates to lead prayer and I hope they continue the tradition.
SWMO — How do you feel you have changed from a freshman to a senior on the floor? Has your game improved?
Zoey — Starting out as a freshman I didn’t have much confidence in my game because I was playing with more experienced players. Now that I’m a senior I have gained more confidence each game which made me into a well rounded player. In the four years I have played Strafford basketball I have had to overcome adversity. My injuries include breaking my back into two places, multiple twisted ankles, and a broken foot. Through these injuries, it has made me work twice as hard to bounce back and play at a higher level.
SWMO — What has been the biggest challenge for you this year? Maybe a close game, an opponent you had to guard or play against, etc.
Zoey — The biggest challenge this year has been Skyline. They are a really well coached and very disciplined team. Skyline shot the ball really well during the game. The only other game a team has been lights out from the start was the first time we played Rogersville. Coach Frank tells us over and over that every team we play will have their best game against us. They are going to come out with a lot of energy wanting to beat us.
SWMO — Talk to us about your scoring milestone. I’m sure it took a lot of hard work.
Zoey — Well scoring wise, I have really worked hard to be able to score for my team. There might be games where I can’t hit anything so I try to focus on getting offensive rebounds and put backs to get my confidence up. Every night I lay in my bed and work on my form shooting until my wrist gives out. Then I get to the gym at 7 a.m. every morning to work on my shot before school. Coach Frank has told me anyone can make shots squared up to the basket but the player that practices on the move and against a defender will be more successful in a game.
SWMO — Who has been the biggest influence on your basketball career to date?
Zoey — The biggest influence on my basketball career is my dad’s (Coach Frank and my actual dad). They teach me so much and put all their time and effort into me. They both support me in anything I do. If I ever have a problem they are always there to help me out. My actual dad pushes me harder because as a coach he knows I have more to give. I love them both and very thankful for God putting them into my life.
SWMO — Talk about your decision to sign with Drury. What do you like about them? What made them stick out?
Zoey — The reason I picked Drury is because I loved that “family feel” that they presented. The level at Drury will push my level of play. Also Drury has a good program and a successful basketball team. I then realized Drury was more like Strafford the more I found out about it. College itself is going to be a hard transition so I thought Drury would make it better if I had a team family like Strafford.
SWMO — What are some of the things the your team are working on in practice as you get ready for district play?
Zoey — The biggest thing that we work on in practice is defense. You can always get better on defense which is something that we really focus on. Another thing we work on is free throws because we have been in a situation where free throws are the determining factor of a win or loss. With all my hard work I am gladly to say that I have only missed two free throws this season. Everyday at practice it is a battle. We are always pushing each other to get better. I believe this is why we are two time State Champions.