By Jeff Griesch
Nebraska Athletic Communications
The adversity Ashley Scoggin faced to reach NCAA Division I women’s basketball for the first time at age 22 is remarkable and worth retelling. She played only six games over a span of five full seasons before having an NJCAA All-Region campaign at Salt Lake City Community College in 2019-20.
The 5-7 guard from Dallas, Oregon suffered a torn ACL in her left knee in July of 2015, near the end of her summer AAU season prior to her senior year at Westview High School. Without playing her 2015-16 high school senior season, all of Scoggin’s NCAA Division I scholarship offers were pulled. She chose to delay her college enrollment and did not compete in 2016-17.
Scoggin enrolled at Salt Lake City Community College in 2017-18. She played six games for SLC before suffering a torn ACL in her right knee in November of 2017. After surgery in January of 2018, Scoggin was making her way back, but her knee was not responding normally. Pursuit of an answer to continued problems with the knee revealed an abnormality in the original surgery, which required another major ACL surgery on the right knee that forced her out of the entire 2018-19 season.
Many, many athletes would have allowed their dreams to derail during five years of being forced to the sideline. Scoggin saw the whole experience as a blessing and found a sense of purpose and belonging after a remarkably successful first season at Nebraska in 2020-21.
“I experienced a lot physically, mentally and emotionally, that has made me who I am today,” the 23-year-old redshirt sophomore said. “I know I was meant to be a Division I athlete. Even though my journey was not normal, I never gave up on playing at the highest level. My first year at Nebraska was all I wanted and more, on and off the court. I tell the coaching staff and my family all the time, ‘I was meant to be here.’ Of course, I had some ups and downs, but nothing is easy. In my opinion, all of life’s experiences allow you the chance to grow. I have always wanted to choose the path of growth, and see the positive in each experience, rather than looking at the negative. I don’t think you can ever grow too much. Growth is endless, and without a doubt I know I will keep growing and improving as a Husker.”
In her first season as a Husker, Scoggin joined All-Big Ten teammates Sam Haiby and Kate Cain in the starting lineup for all 26 games. Scoggin played big minutes for the Big Red in 2020-21. She averaged 31.6 minutes per game, trailing only Haiby (34.1 mpg) among the Huskers.
“Last season I was not surprised at all with how many minutes I played,” Scoggin said. “I put thousands and thousands of hours into improving myself as a player. I have always had great stamina. Once I am in basketball shape, I can run for days. In many games last season, I wasn’t really winded at all. I also have a motor, so when I might feel a little tired, I keep going and push myself. I like to see how far I can really push and test my limits. Not once did I feel the minutes were stacking up on me. I love every second I am on the floor. I will never take it for granted. I pride myself on staying healthy, so I can be out there as much as I can.”
Nebraska Head Coach Amy Williams said Scoggin’s attention to detail in taking care of her body after experiencing multiple season-ending injuries, has helped Scoggin mature as a player and set an outstanding example for her younger Husker teammates.
“Ashley is extremely diligent in her approach to everything she does, particularly her approach to taking care of her body and doing what she needs to do to stay healthy,” Williams said. “Having to miss so much time in her career due to injury has made this a big priority for Ashley, and it has paid off for our team.”
Scoggin said strength training, stretching and recovery are the keys to her success, especially as a player who loves to spend as much time as possible in the gym honing her skills.
“Taking care of my body and doing regular treatment is very important for me to be able to play at my best,” Scoggin said. “Each day I have a stretching routine. I also get treatment every day and depending on how I am feeling, it can be a variety of things. Lately, I have been doing a version of laser-light therapy that can help my cells rejuvenate and recover properly, as well as using ultrasound. Taking ice baths also helps my muscles and legs recover, and I do those almost every day.”
She also knows that nutrition is a huge component to her growth and health as a college basketball player.
“I am very in tune with the way I fuel my body. Last year, we didn’t have a normal Training Table because of COVID, but coming from JUCO, I thought it was amazing. Now the Training Table is back to what it would normally be, and I love it. I really enjoy cooking, so being able to make my own food at the Training Table has been awesome. I always make sure to get protein and a complex carbohydrate in each meal and after workouts, and my favorite thing is a chocolate-peanut butter protein shake. For me being able to take care of my body nutritionally is just as important as physically. In order for me to play at my best I have to have both aspects, which is why I take it very seriously.”
Scoggin’s focus on preparation paid off in a big way as a first-year Husker in 2020-21. She led Nebraska with 43 made three-pointers and shot 37.1 percent from long range. She ranked fourth on the team in scoring at 8.5 points per game and second among the Huskers with 2.3 assists. She also helped the Big Red to five wins over top-25 Big Ten teams.
“Being able to be fully healthy and playing all last season in the Big Ten was an amazing feeling, and in some ways indescribable,” Scoggin said. “I was very happy to be doing what I love most, at the level I have always dreamed of playing. It really made me reflect on everyone who helped me get to that point and thank those who help me stay healthy. Without those people, I wouldn’t be able to be on the court. It makes me smile every time I think about it. It’s beyond gratifying to say the least.”
While it was gratifying for Scoggin to be on the court full-time at the Power Five Conference level last year, she was not always satisfied with her own level of play. That hunger and desire to keep growing and improving is serving her and the Huskers well during the offseason.
“There were times last year I got frustrated with how I shot and played since I knew I could do so much better,” Scoggin said. “The way I shot the ball against Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament is how I expect to shoot every game. I know I can do that.”
Against the No. 7 Terrapins, Scoggin hit 4-of-8 threes and finished with 14 points in 35 minutes, to help keep the Huskers within striking distance down to the wire. In fact, the Big Red led 68-67 with just over six minutes left before the Terps escaped with the victory.
Scoggin finished the season with 13 double-figure scoring performances and her consistency improved throughout the season, including eight double-figure efforts in the final 12 games. She scored a career-high 18 points and added a career-best five assists in a win over Penn State (Feb. 21), and produced a 17-point, four-assist effort in a career-high 39 minutes at Iowa (March 6). She also had 16-point performances against Minnesota (Jan. 19), Purdue (Dec. 23) and Idaho State (Dec. 6).
“Coming into this year, I know what I do really well and who I am as a player, which helps my confidence,” Scoggin said. “Last year was a great learning and growing experience for me, and it will definitely help me this season. I now know what to expect game to game and that knowledge will transfer to the upcoming season.”
Scoggin has been focused on putting in the work in the gym to grow off the knowledge and experience she gained on the court last season.
“This summer I have spent a lot of time working on my ball handling and shooting off the dribble. I have added new moves to my arsenal and have been working on them every day. I am also focused on getting stronger in the weight room. Spending time on my craft is what I love to do, so being in the gym as much as I can during the summer is crucial in order for me to be able to use those skills in season.”
Scoggin is also applying her work ethic, maturity and team-first attitude to help lead Nebraska’s collective efforts to connect and compete before and during the 2021-22 campaign.
“This summer our goal as a team is to compete and connect. The returners have all been helping out the newcomers and our communication has been great. As a team we have made a lot of progress this summer, but we still have a long way to go,” Scoggin said. “I want to bring leadership and a sense of camaraderie to our team. I also bring a positive and encouraging attitude to the table. That’s just who I am as a person. Helping my teammates believe in themselves, being there when they need me is very important. It helps our team connect. I also love the fact that we are competing against each other, and I love to compete. Personally, I think bringing the best version of myself each day helps us in pursuit of our goals of connecting and competing. When you bring your best self each day not only does it help you, but also those around you.”
A child, youth and family studies major with plans of being a coach, Scoggin is required to complete a 150-hour internship program. Her internship is coming under Coach Williams, who is providing Scoggin with an in-depth look at the daily working of the basketball program from a new perspective.
“Ashley is going to be a great coach someday,” Williams said. “Her motivation to learn as much as she can has led to an internship this summer giving her a peak into all aspects behind the scenes in a basketball program. Her creativity and work ethic has shown through in this experience as well.”
Scoggin’s internship is also giving her an opportunity to relate Nebraska’s on-court goals to the followers of the Husker program through social media engagement.”
“This summer has been so exciting for me. One of the biggest things Coach Williams wanted me to do for my internship was to come up with new ideas for all platforms,” Scoggin said. “I love seeing my ideas come to life, but a lot of work goes into social media. With so many moving parts, you have to be able to communicate with multiple people to get the job done. The feedback I have received has all been great. Finding time to get all of it done and actually put it out there for the audience is a challenge, but I have loved every second of it. The aspect that has been eye-opening for me is the number of people involved in making all of the ideas come to life. So far, this has experience has been special and one I will never forget.”
While Scoggin has spent significant time this summer helping the program reach out to Husker fans in the digital realm, she is really looking forward to seeing the Big Red faithful in person at Pinnacle Bank Arena this season.
“One thing I am looking forward to the most this season is getting to play with this team in front of fans. I haven’t ever really played in front of fans. Last year without fans was actually normal for me, as crazy as that sounds. I am beyond excited to play in front of our Husker fans for the first time. I really love being at Nebraska. I can’t wait for this year.”
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