Former South Bend Washington star Mila Reynolds set for hoops homecoming vs. Notre Dame
Mila Reynolds should definitely feel at home come Thursday night.
The former South Bend Washington star will have her own cheering section as she returns to South Bend.
Freshman Reynolds and her No. 20 Maryland squad faces undefeated and No. 7 Notre Dame in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion with the contest on ESPN2.
"I'm just super excited to be coming back home," said Reynolds in a phone interview this past weekend while playing in a tourney in Florida. "It will be great to play in front of a crowd I'm used to."
"It means a lot to me to have the support of people back in South Bend. I know that they have my back."
Reynolds helped lead Washington to the Class 3A state title last February. The 6-3 forward averaged 21.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game her senior season as the Panthers went 28-3. She scored a game-high 23 points as Washington whipped Silver Creek 93-35 in a record-setting state finals contest.
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Reynolds finished her prep career with 2,099 career points and 990 rebounds. She was an Indiana All-Star and finished third in the Miss Basketball voting. She scored a school record 48 points versus Elkhart last season and had 10 of her 53 career double-doubles. Reynolds helped Washington go from 10 wins her freshman season to 19 as a sophomore, 22 and a state runner-up finish as a junior and then the program's second state championship last season.
The Panther program is expected to be out in full force Thursday night. Undefeated Washington is coached by Steve Reynolds, Mila's father, and the nationally ranked squad boasts two of her younger siblings in senior star guard Amiyah and sophomore standout Kira. Amiyah has committed to Maryland too. Mila's mother Marcy is an assistant coach for the Panthers.
"I think that it will be good for her to see the support she has," said Steve Reynolds of his oldest of seven children. "I think that it will be good for the city too.
"This is the type of impact that Mila always wanted to have. It's about serving and about being a light. That's just part of what we do as a family. It's not just about basketball."
"Mila understands the impact her influence has. She's always owned that and as a Dad I'm just super proud of her."
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Coach Reynolds noted that the entire program, some 30 strong, will be at the game. There will also be an additional 30 family and friends in attendance.
Mila Reynolds, who committed to the Terps prior to her junior season, has persevered in her first season in College Park. She has appeared in seven games, averaging seven minutes per outing. Reynolds has scored 12 points, including a season-high five Sunday in 12 minutes of action during an 87-63 win over Pittsburgh. She also has 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals for coach Brenda Frese's 6-2 squad.
"I'm not thinking about how much I'm playing or points or things like that," related Mila. "I'm just trying to keep working and I know that things will come. I just have to remain patient. It's a huge jump from high school to college but it's been about what I expected. I think that I have adjusted pretty well to it."
"I'm just glad that young girls in South Bend can look up to me. They can know that there are bigger and better things after high school. I want to give them hope that they can do this too if they want to."
Reynolds was slowed earlier as she had to deal with a series of headaches back in October that slowed her down for a while.
"There have been some ups and downs, but nothing I can't handle," said Mila, who dealt with a serious hip injury while at Washington. "It was just more frustrating to have the headaches because there were days, I had to miss practice.
"But I kept pushing and I had people like my family and my teammates here to lift me up through it. I feel like I'm in a pretty good spot now with everything."
Reynolds added that the headaches, which the cause of has not been determined, occur much less frequently now and are not as severe.
Steve Reynolds made a trip out East in October to spend a few days with his daughter.
"It was a great time to just go out and spend time with her," noted Steve. "We got to talk and got in the gym and work out together.
"We all know how good Mila is, but it's a whole different ballgame at that level. We love Maryland and think that there will be an opportunity for Mila and Amiyah both to do great things there in the future."
Mila added that the support of her dad means everything to her and that she is super satisfied with her decision to come to Maryland.
The "Boss" as she is known around the West Side, also gave big time props to her former team. The current edition of the Panthers was 7-0 prior to a game with Elkhart Tuesday night and ranked No. 1 in Class 4A this season. Washington beat defending Class 4A state champion Noblesville 77-56 Saturday night.
"This year's team is better than last year's," said Mila.
"I'm beyond proud of them. I see another state championship for them this season."
WHO: No. 20 Maryland (6-2) vs. No. 7 Notre Dame (6-0)
WHEN: Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Purcell Pavilion (9,149), Notre Dame
LISTEN: WQLQ (99.9 FM, link at UND.com)