After a medical redshirt season last year and only playing in eight games, redshirt freshman guard Ella Wanzer is preparing for a bigger role in this upcoming 2022-23 season. Despite being a limited participant in last year’s campaign, Wanzer made an immediate impact. In her eight games played, Wanzer earned America East (AE) Rookie of the Week on Nov. 29. Additionally, she reached double-digit scoring totals on two separate occasions, including a collegiate career-high 15 points against Mansfield on Nov. 23.

“A team goal and individual goal is [to win] the America East championship,” Wanzer said. “That is what the whole team is thinking of, that’s all we want. We’ve talked about it multiple times. Every single one of us has bought in and really wants to win that championship.”

Wanzer’s hometown is Buffalo, New York where she attended Amherst Central High School. She was a three-time team MVP and named first-team All-Western New York (WNY) as a senior and second-team as a sophomore and junior. On top of that, the 5-foot-10-inch guard is Amherst Central High School’s all-time leading scorer (boys and girls) with 1,710 career points. During her junior year, she averaged 20.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists and was chosen All-ECIC II first-team for that season and her senior season.

“High school basketball prepared me in the way of developing leadership skills,” Wanzer said. “I think I learned from a very young age the idea [of] transferring being friends with your teammates and also wanting to push each other and work hard. I think that’s a balance that can be hard for people to find … That competitive edge while also balancing friendship and team collaboration, and wanting to win for each other and with each other, so that’s something I learned from high school.”

The redshirt freshman began her basketball journey at a young age due to the athletes in her family. Her sister, Claire, played college basketball at Niagara from 2017 to 2021.

“I started playing basketball when I was around five years old,” Wanzer said. “Basketball kind of runs in my family. I have cousins that play and have played Division I basketball. My sister plays Division I basketball, so it’s big in my family.”

Wanzer has had a unique start to her college basketball career at Binghamton. In her freshman year, she only played eight games due to an injury early in the season that kept her on the sideline for most of the year. Although Wanzer experienced a halt to her plans last year, she is excited about the upcoming season and being able to play again.

“Last year was hard because I had dreamt about my freshman year of college so much since I was a kid,” Wanzer said. “All I wanted to do was play basketball and, unfortunately, I was in a lot of pain and then eventually I fractured my kneecap, so it was tough … Getting to suit up every game is the thing I’m most excited for and taking care of my body.”

Wanzer is confident in her ability to stay healthy this year and believes that the team is ready to show people what they are capable of. With a solid group of returning players and many new faces on the team, including a plethora of transfers and freshmen, the Bearcats are poised to make an impact in the AE this season.

“I’m also really excited for our team this year,” Wanzer said. “I think that we have a ton of great players. We work really well together, so I’m excited. I think we’re gonna do some big things this year that are gonna shock a lot of people.”