Stars to watch on the women’s team

By Pat Gainor, Staff Writer

Mackayla Scarlett

We may be three games in, but all signs point to Scarlett being something special this season. Through the first week, she posted a career-high 19 points against Miami (OH), matched it against Detroit Mercy in the home opener, then put up 14 points in the first half alone against St. Francis. In a paint-driven offense, the junior guard is Xavier’s biggest threat from midrange and beyond and she can be a game-changer if she gets enough good looks.

When (not if, when) you come down to Cintas to watch this team, Mackayla Scarlett is definitely the name to look out for the most.

Courtney Prenger

When it comes to attacking the paint, there aren’t many better than Courtney Prenger. The senior forward picked up her first career double-double on Sunday, and has shown right out of the gate that she can be an all-encompassing authoritarian presence near the rim. When she gets open looks and overloads the defender, her ability to score buckets can be paramount in establishing momentum for the Musketeers, as well as her excellence in grabbing rebounds, with 19 over the first three games.

With her and Megan Harkey both providing a dual threat to the opponent’s rim attack, she will certainly be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Taylor Smith

After missing the entire 2021-22 season due to injury, the graduate transfer out of Ole Miss has gotten her final season of college ball off to a strong start, registering double digits in two of the first three games of the season. Expectations are high for the Georgia native, but throughout the first week, she has proven to be a dynamic shooter, going 4/8 in Sunday’s game against St. Francis and 2/3 from beyond the arc. 

Xavier has often struggled to get a rhythm going in the beginning of the game, but when Taylor Smith gets going, the whole team gets going. The guard will certainly look to be a consistent veteran presence that stabilizes the ship when the waves get rocky.

Fernanda Ovalle & Kayleigh Addie

Two standout freshmen are definitely names to watch through this upcoming season. Hailing from Chile, Fernanda Ovalle is excellent at setting up plays, from aggressive drives to the paint to movements that lead to beneficial mismatches. Even then, she is definitely not to be ignored as a shooter, notably going 5/11 in Sunday’s win for 11 points. Even though her college tenure has been short thus far, Ovalle has already shown impressive dexterity when it comes to working the court and setting up her teammates–and herself–for success.

Last but not least comes Kayleigh Addie, the freshman guard out of Atlanta. In her very first game, she showed how dominant she could be, netting 21 points in her collegiate debut against Miami-OH through a 7/11 shooting night. Addie excels at punishing soft defensive looks and breaking through for tough layups, as well as knocking down jumpers when she’s feeling it. If she can get going quickly, Addie and Scarlett, who combined for 40 of the Musketeers’ 87 points, can be a force to be reckoned with for the offense.