University rising senior Ashten Boggs stepping up this offseason

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Things will be a bit different for University girls basketball standout Ashten Boggs for her senior season.

Boggs was a key player for the Hawks during their Class AAA runner-up campaign this past season. Her size and physicality allowed her to dominate opponents in the post, while she provided enough versatility to shift to the wing when needed to lengthen the lineup and create mismatches.

However, there were things she didn’t have to do — such as play the role of floor general and control the team on the court. Then-senior Zoe Murphy was able to fill that role, establishing herself as the figurehead.

With Murphy out of the picture this upcoming season, Boggs will attempt to shift into the leadership role that Murphy used to occupy, with fellow seniors Abbie Coen and Mallory Napolillo handling more of the workload underneath the basket. Now she’s spending her offseason — including three-weeks summer practice — trying to develop her skills at controlling the court and distributing the ball.

“During this AAU season, I asked my coach to let me play point guard more. Coming back to UHS, we need someone to fill Zoe’s shoes, and I’m ready to do anything to help my team win,” she said.

“I’ve always been told I have really good court vision — I think it’s because of my height — but I’ve just been trying to teach myself not to force things as much. I look more for the open person, regardless of who that is. It just comes natural now.”

As summer sessions near an end for the Hawks, coach David Price has found himself impressed with just how far Boggs has come in the new role in such a short period of time. He knew that Murphy’s departure would open a hole in an otherwise solid returning lineup and considers himself fortunate to be able to rely upon Boggs to make the transition easier.

“She’s been doing a good job of controlling the ball tempo, her court vision has improved dramatically and she’s beginning to look to push the ball more,” he said. “She’s going to have more of that ball control responsibility than she did last year by far.

“Graduating Zoe, that was a big question mark headed into this year. It’s a blessing whenever you can have someone out there to run the team like that. It makes my job easier. We always talk about our point guards being an extension of the coach on the floor, and it’s really true. She takes a big responsibility off of us and that helps translate it to the team.”

Perhaps the most important facet of Boggs’ game, according to her coach, is her knowledge of the sport and ability to act as an extension of the coaching staff — it’s one of the reasons he believes that the transition into a larger leadership role will come easy for her.

Boggs attributes the ability to her younger days on the AAU circuit and doesn’t take the responsibility Price gives her lightly.

“As I’ve gotten older, Coach Price has given me a lot of leeway in calling plays. He knows me so well and he knows I have a high IQ. He trusts me when it comes to knowing the right plays to make,” she said. “Ever since I was in middle school, I’ve always played an age up in travel ball. Those girls have higher IQs and more knowledge and that has made me more mature on the basketball floor. That has really helped.”

“Truthfully, I think she’s out there having a good time. It comes naturally to her,” Price said. “She’s friends with the other seniors on the team and she gets along with everyone. She has a likeable personality that draws people in and she wants to make this team into a family atmosphere.”