Any Tarleton basketball fan who has watched the TexAnns play this season has seen the scoring machine that is Mackenzie Hailey.
Hailey, the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14.9 points per game, has been a huge boost to the TexAnns who currently boast an impressive 3-1 record in Lone Star Conference play.
After her first semester at Tarleton, Hailey is enjoying what little time she’s been here.
“I love being a TexAnn. We gel together really well as a team and it wasn’t like that at UTA (University of Texas-Arlington),” she said. “We started off a bit slow this season, but we’ve been playing well since conference play started and I want to continue that.”
After starting 1-4 on the season, the TexAnns rallied to win conference games against Cameron, Midwestern State and Western New Mexico. However, the team did drop their final two games of the fall semester against conference foe Eastern New Mexico and a non-conference matchup against the reigning DII champions Lubbock Christian.
“Obviously we didn’t really want to end the first part of the season with a loss,” Hailey said. “But we also won three in a row in conference before that and that’s something that’s hard to do in any conference, especially the LSC. I think that is something positive that we have to take into 2017.”
As Hailey prepares to lead the TexAnns charge in the spring, the UTA transfer may not exactly be miles from her hometown of Burleson, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t experienced change.
“My biggest transition is just being further away from my family. My roommates are awesome at helping me with this, but when I was at UTA I could go home about every single day,” said Hailey. “Coming here and having to learn that I can’t go home and eat dinner every day has been different.”
While getting over the distance from her hometown has been one challenge, the hardest has perhaps been overcoming injury for the 6’2 forward.
Hailey was hurt in her first season at UTA when she damaged her pad behind the knee from falling too much. The pad eventually slid between her bone and started causing nerve damage forcing corrective surgery.
“The injury was certainly more of a mental thing for me. It still locks up randomly, partly because I’ve torn my PCL as well, also from just everything that’s happened,” she said. “I think it’s going to be fine though. It’s something I’ve somewhat gotten over and I’m not going to let it hold me back.”
As the team gears up for the spring semester, Hailey isn’t worried about keeping up her scoring. She wants to win games and make a tournament run.
“I have a winning mentality and so does our entire team. Our bench, Coach Wilson, all of us. It runs through the team. We don’t care who scores, but if it needs to be me then I’ll step up and that’s something we feel that we can do. We want to win more than anything and we’re all willing to do whatever it takes to do that.”
The TexAnns will continue their season on Jan. 5 when they travel to take on Angelo State.