Women’s Basketball Announces Four Additions for 2024-25
Monday, May 13, 2024
Women’s Basketball Announces Four Additions for 2024-25
Mary Evans announced the addition of four newcomers for next year's roster.

Valpo women’s basketball head coach Mary Evans announced today four additions — three transfers and one freshman — for the Beacons’ 2024-25 roster, bringing in a veteran group to complement the returnees and previously announced freshmen.

“This group will add maturity and experience to a really young team,” Evans said. “They all love to be in the gym and work on their games. They will mesh well with our returning core, and I am excited to get to work with this group of young women.”

Fiona Connolly is a 5-8 guard from South Burlington, Vt. Connolly will have two seasons of eligibility remaining at Valpo after playing her first two collegiate seasons at La Salle, where she appeared in 47 games, scoring 53 points and handing out 36 assists. Connolly completed her prep career at Brewster Academy, where she was named NEPSAC Player of the Year as a senior. Previously playing at Rice Memorial H.S., Connolly helped her squad to a berth in the state semifinals.

“Fiona is a tough and hard-nosed point guard,” Evans said. “She will bring some experience and maturity to our lead guard position. She loves to push pace. The quality that our staff loved the most about her is her ability to pass the basketball and find teammates in transition.”

Maci Rhoades is a 5-11 guard from Beavercreek, Ohio. Rhoades has two seasons of eligibility remaining at Valpo after playing her first two years at Radford, where she appeared in 46 games, scoring 151 points and grabbing 74 rebounds. Rhoades hit at a 40% clip from 3-point range in her two seasons for the Highlanders. Rhoades played her prep basketball at Beavercreek H.S., where she earned Honorable Mention notice for the Ohio Southwest District I All-Star Team.

“Maci can flat out shoot the basketball,” Evans said. “She has shown the ability to hit at a high rate at the collegiate level. She has good size at the wing position and is extremely versatile on the floor.”

Mor Shabtai is a 5-4 guard from Israel. She most recently played for Hapoel Petah Tikva in the Israeli Women’s Basketball Premier League. Shabtai also previously played for ASA Jerusalem and Elitzur Holon, both in the Premier League as well. While Shabtai will be a freshman, she adds to the veteran group as she is 20 years old and has served in the Israeli military.

“Mor is an exciting point guard who loves to push pace and pass the basketball,” Evans said. “Her experience playing at a number of levels overseas, as well as her international experience, should lead to a smooth transition to college basketball. She will add some depth and maturity to our guard position.”

Bella Swedlund is a 5-8 guard from Winner, S.D. A three-star prospect according to ESPN.com and the nation’s 25th-ranked point guard in the class of 2022, Swedlund is still looking to make her collegiate debut after redshirting at Kansas in 2022-23 and sitting out last season due to injury at Toledo. A three-time First Team All-State honoree and finalist for South Dakota Miss Basketball as a senior at Winner H.S., Swedlund helped lead her teams to three regional titles and the 2019 Class A state title. She ranked 14th in state history at the time of her graduation with 2,256 career points.

“Bella is a scorer and fantastic shooter,” Evans said. “She has had some tough luck to start her collegiate career, but is a true competitor and an amazing young person. I believe she will be able to come in and help stretch the floor as a shooter as she works her way back from injury.”

These four players join the pair of incoming freshmen — Lexi Castator and Kylie Waytashek — who inked NLIs with the program last fall.