Woodgrove senior center Stephanie Purnell — a charter member of the Wolverines’ three-year-old girls’ basketball program — committed to Bucknell last week, accepting a walk-on offer at the Lewisburg, Pa. school.
Purnell said she whittled her decision down to playing for the Bison or for Division III program NYU, which didn’t fit her academic goal of studying neuroscience as well as Bucknell.
NYU’s early decision deadline was March 15, so Purnell made the call before she would be bound to attend. The appeal of Division I competition stood out.
“I decided that I wanted the way to challenge myself the most, and Bucknell had what I was looking for,” Purnell said.
By March 15, her teammates were offering congratulations and scrapbooked memories on Twitter.
On March 16, the Virginia High School Coaches Association named Purnell first team Virginia AA all state.
“It’s just something that I didn’t think would happen because we got out of the tournament so early,” she said. “It came to an absolute shock to me. It’s something I’ve always just literally dreamed about my whole high school career.
“I’ve definitely been trying to reach that level for four years… I had to work toward it, and that’s the best part.”
Woodgrove (25-4) went a flawless 18-0 in AA Dulles District play, won the district tournament and then captured the Virginia AA Region II championship before falling to Courtland, 54-41, in a Virginia AA Division 4 quarterfinal.
Purnell was named player of the year in both her district and region. A consistent double-double in the scorebook, she led the Wolverines with 12.7 points per game and scored 766 points in three seasons.
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