NORMAL, Ill. — Lexi Wallen finally feels like she is caught up with her teammates.
“I didn’t get to learn things at the same pace, in the same detail the girls learned last summer,” Wallen said. “I was thrown into things.”
Yes, she was thrown into things. Wallen was a four-year volleyball player at Illinois State and helped the Redbirds win the 2018 Missouri Valley Conference title.
After she played her final game last year, she was asked to help out the injury-riddled Redbird women’s basketball team, which was a month into its season.
She hadn’t played hoops since high school.
“She did our first workout on a Wednesday, I threw her in the game on Friday at Northern Kentucky and she scored the first time she caught the ball,” said “I turned to the staff and said, that’s a pretty good decision.”
Wallen is using her final year of college eligibility to play basketball with the Redbirds. After her crash course with her team last winter, she is now confident with the playbook and her role.
She’s also confident she’ll have a great season with her teammates on her second ISU team.
“After four years of a sport, you think you are ready to move on,” the former Champaign St. Thomas More star said. “It’s so different and I’m happy to play again.”
She picked a great time to join the team. She’s with the Redbirds on basketball tour of Italy.
“I’ve never been to Europe, excited to see new things,” Wallen said. “Spending ten days together, 24 hours a day. That’ll be a cool opportunity to get to know each other.”