FAIRBANKS, Alaska - In this week's special edition of Beyond the Scoreboard, we meet Kylie Wallace, the 5-7 guard on the Alaska Nanooks who plays big against her taller competition.
This is Kylie Wallace.
"She's a warrior. I'll tell you that right now," said Kerri Nakamoto, Nanook Women's Basketball Head Coach.
Kylie Wallace comes from the small town of Petersburg, Alaska. And started for their basketball program, playing as a combo forward with 18.2 points and 9.5 rebounds a game.
"It was like a good change but still enough of a change so that I was still in Alaska but sort of still close to my family still," said Wallace.
Wallace's new Head Coach Kerri Nakamoto got to see Kylie's determination in person.
"She gets bumped and bruised and falls down, she's in the training room more than anyone else taking care of her body. Doing all of those things, but the greatest things about Kylie is that if I asked to run through a brick wall cause that would help us win she would do it," said Nakamoto.
For Kylie, she changed her game with the help of assistant coach Jessie Craig, who helped Wallace hone her unique rebounding skills and post moves.
"It was a lot of fun last season, kind of after Christmas I started playing more of a post, but playing post like a guard. So that was really fun, so with a new coach, and things are changing I didn't really know where I would be playing but just everything really kind of fell into place," said Wallace.
"Once I saw her for the first time in person when she came on campus you know she was wearing a big old work boots and sweats and I kind of was like well, she doesn't quite look like a baller, you know, and her game is a little non-traditional. You know she has a lot of fakes and euro step moves things that aren't super typical, but it's effective," said Nakamoto.
For Wallace, her junior year is going so far, averaging 18.3 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the floor. But she credits her time with former Nanooks stars Kailee Skjold and Jordan Wilson helping her grow, especially after dealing with last season's struggles.
"I am very grateful I came in and they kind of, like they understood the game they were older they kind like understood life. They were just, like I can come in and they knew what we were suppose to be doing and follow and learn. Really good at communicating things, some of them were really hard on us younger kids and taught us a lot. And they had a lot, high expectations for us," said Wallace.
Of course I had to ask Kylie about her time in Poetry Out Loud, where she went to state representing Region 5 in Alaska.
"Yeah. It was recitation, I think I got second in the state, you can go look that up if you want to," said Wallace.
Wallace and the Nooks look to have a strong showing in the MT. McKinley North Star Crossover after Thanksgiving.