Women's Basketball

Huskers. Together - Ashley Scoggin

By Jeff Griesch
Nebraska Athletic Communications

Ashley Scoggin will be the oldest player on the Nebraska women's basketball team in 2020-21. She joined the Huskers on May 2 – six days before her 22nd birthday.

The elder stateswoman among the Huskers will be a redshirt sophomore, and nearly a full year older than senior-to-be Kate Cain and two months older than Nebraska's four-year starter on the wing last season – Nicea Eliely.

No religious missionary work broke up Scoggin's college career. No military service took her away from the game prior to her enrollment.

No, the 5-7 guard experienced a different kind of spiritual basketball journey of maturity while fighting her own battles against untimely injuries.

Coach Amy Williams and the Huskers are hoping the growth Scoggin has experienced will help them on and off the court in 2020-21.

"We are excited to add Ashley to our Husker family," Williams said. "She is a play-making guard with experience and maturity and will provide us with another consistent presence from behind the arc."

Scoggin showed her strength behind the arc by hitting nearly 40 percent (53-134) of her three-pointers last year at Salt Lake City Community College. She also knocked down nearly 95 percent (17-18) of her free throws and displayed her play-making skills with 52 assists, while averaging 10 points and 5.2 rebounds over 25 games.

Her performance at SLC last season came after nearly five years of knee injuries and surgeries that kept her out of competition for all but six games during that five-year span. Scoggin, who moved to Lincoln full time just 17 days after signing with the Huskers, could not wait to take the next step in her improbable basketball journey.

"I am beyond excited to be here at Nebraska," Scoggin said. "I am very hopeful for my first season at Division I. I have spent my whole life dreaming about playing on this stage. After going through my injuries to be able to play at this level, I just have to keep getting better each and every day."
That is exactly what Scoggin has been doing, on and off the court.
"The past six weeks have been amazing. Even though life isn't normal right now, it has been a great transition for me," Scoggin said. "Getting to know the area and campus has been great. Classes have been going good as well. I finished my pre-session class with an 'A' and I am currently taking Introduction to Human Development and Introduction into Family Finance."
She is also loving life in the weight room and in the gym at the Hendricks Training Complex. 
"The workouts with Coach (Stuart) Hart have been going great. They are challenging, but I love being in the weight room. It's been really good to get back into the groove of things with workouts and court work," Scoggin said. "Each day we go to the practice facility and my roommates and I are there from 9 a.m. to noon almost every day.
"Monday, Wednesday and Friday we lift with Coach Hart for about an hour and a half, then I go get treatment and physical therapy. Depending on how long that takes I go and get shots up in the gym. On Tuesday and Thursday I get treatment and do physical therapy for about an hour and a half and then go to the gym to do ball-handling, shooting and play pick-up.
"When I played again for the first time since March, I was rusty, but I have been feeling more fluid each time we play. There is also a time slot at night now for a couple of days during the week for an hour and half when we can go in and do more on the court. Overall, I am there for about 3-4 hours every day out of the week getting back in shape and working on my game." 

Her love for the game of basketball practically oozes from Scoggin when you hear her talk about her workouts. She is truly thankful for the opportunity to just be in a gym.

"When I feel down, I always go to the gym and I might just be there for hours," Scoggin said. "Even if I couldn't do much because of an injury, I just loved the feeling of the ball in my hand, the smell of the gym, the sound of the net when I would swish a shot."

Scoggin is an undeniable basketball junkie whose love of the game has been tested by adversity after adversity the last five years. Instead of turning her back on the game she loved, she has been drawn even closer to it. She has used the adversity as motivation to take her game to a higher level while growing and maturing as both a player and a person.

Scoggin's love for basketball began as an elementary school student and blossomed as a budding high school star in Portland, Ore. As a freshman in 2012-13, she averaged 15.7 points, five rebounds, four assists and five steals for West Salem. She transferred to Westview High School for her sophomore season in 2013-14 and averaged 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals while helping Westview to a third-place finish at the Class 6A state tournament. Scoggin played her sophomore season alongside current WNBA player Jaime Nared (Las Vegas Aces) who is in her third professional season after a four-year career at Tennessee.

Scoggin's game grew as a junior at Westview in 2014-15, when she averaged 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. She captured her second first-team all-metro honor as a junior and was attracting significant national recruiting interest.

But her life took a major turn in July of 2015 in Seattle, when she went for a steal at the top of the key in a summer AAU game. Her feet got tangled with her opponent and she injured her left knee.
Two doctors evaluated her knee and determined no ligament tear had occurred. Scoggin not only went back into the game, she played on the knee into August, before it was officially diagnosed as a torn ACL. She underwent surgery in September of 2015 and missed her high school senior season. Not only did she lose her senior season, she also lost all of her college basketball scholarship offers.

"When I tore my left ACL I became depressed," Scoggin said. "The thing I loved most was taken away, and I didn't know how my body was going to respond. I am a very positive person, and going through my injuries I kept my head up. I look at the bright side of life as best as I can. I remember thinking, 'even though this really sucks and I wish it didn't happen, I can come out of this a better player than I was before, just take it one day at a time.'"

Without a basketball scholarship, Scoggin chose to delay her enrollment in college. She sat out the 2016-17 season, focusing on her rehabilitation and her game. She worked out with a trainer and other college players from the Portland area. But with no games to play in front of coaches, no significant offers from four-year schools came her way.  

So Scoggin enrolled at Salt Lake City Community College prior to the 2017-18 season. After more than two and a half years between her last high school game and her first junior college game, Scoggin scored 26 points on 8-of-12 three-point shooting in 21 minutes against Western Wyoming CC on Nov. 2, 2017. The next day, she added 17 points against Eastern Wyoming.

She started four more games for the Bruins, before suffering a torn right ACL following a game with Trinity Valley CC on Nov. 17, 2017.

Scoggin underwent surgery Jan. 15, 2018 and missed the rest of the 2017-18 season for the Bruins. Since she only played in six games, Scoggin was eligible to receive a medical redshirt for that season.
Back on the court in July of 2018, she felt her right knee pop for the first time since surgery. She was told her ACL was not torn, but according to Scoggin, her right knee never "felt right" after it popped. Scoggin called her surgeon and explained what she felt. He told her to take two weeks off before resuming full activity. At the end of two weeks, something still felt wrong in her knee. She called her surgeon again and he told her to take another week off. She still felt the same at the end of the third week.
Finally, she called her surgeon in Portland again and told him, "I need an MRI." A week later she had an MRI, and then met with her surgeon. He did a knee exam, and according to Scoggin he told her she had no ligament damage. Her ACL was performing as expected.
Scoggin went back to Salt Lake City in August to start school and workouts with the Bruins. She had been playing and practicing with the team for about two months. Her leg felt weak, sometimes to the point of feeling like it was "just going to give out." Her knee popped two more times before she decided she needed another medical opinion.
As she prepared to start her redshirt freshman season on the court in Salt Lake City in 2018-19, she had an evaluation from one of the Utah Jazz team surgeons. Her new surgeon ordered another MRI. In November of 2018, it was determined that when her knee popped in July of 2018 her ACL had come completely detached from her femur. The surgery on her right knee in January of 2018 included her ACL being put in at the wrong angle. It was doomed to fail. 

Right ACL surgery number two and her third ACL surgery overall followed, and she missed the entire 2018-19 season.

While frustrated by her injuries, Scoggin seemed to be getting stronger mentally, physically and emotionally as she went through the rehabs and the surgeries.

"The biggest thing I would have to say is I'm a fighter," Scoggin said. "No matter how many times I fall, I will get right back up. Coming back from not only one ACL, but three is hard. I learned how to pick myself up, and keep going."
Like her own personal journey, Scoggin has learned to find inspiration in some interesting places.
"In some instances, I think of the movie Finding Nemo, when Dory says, 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming,' and no matter how dark it is, you will reach the light," Scoggin said. "I have learned how to take adversity and come out of something that could have ended my career, to have it be a positive and make me a stronger person. Each person has their own journey, unique to them. It took me a while to understand that, but once I did it helped me move even further in the right direction." 
After minor meniscus repair in September of 2019 kept her off the court for Salt Lake City CC's first two games of 2019-20, Scoggin was finally able to get back on the court for a basketball game with two minutes off the bench against South Plains College on Nov. 15, 2019. It was nearly two full years since playing her last game for SLC.

She came off the bench the next day against New Mexico Junior College and scored nine points in just 12 minutes. After that, she was a starter for the Bruins the rest of the season.
Although she was in the starting lineup, she knew she was still knocking a lot of rust off her game, and she had doubts that her performances would rise to a high level.

"My biggest fear was being less of a player than I was before I got injured," Scoggin said. "Some of my friends who have torn their ACL said they never could play the same after surgery. I didn't want to be like that. I wanted to be the girl who came back with a vengeance. People would see me play and they would never know I had torn my ACLs."

Scoggin knew her recovery and return to the court would be anything but an overnight success story, and she drew strength from some confidence-boosting advice from her father, Craig.
"What have you been doing while you've been out? Watching film, studying the game, working on your game. You're older, smarter, and you're stronger," Craig Scoggin said. "Not only are you stronger physically, but you are mentally. When you go out on the court, outsmart them first and the rest will come."   

Ashley took that advice to heart. Through her first five games last season, she averaged 7.2 points per game, but she could feel her legs beginning to find themselves underneath her. She was also starting to feel the game's pace again.

On Nov. 29, 2019, she erupted for 22 points on 6-of-9 three-point shooting against Eastern Wyoming. She consistently scored in double figures during December and January. By February, she was regularly playing 30-35 minutes per game, including a 40-minute effort at Utah State Eastern on Feb. 22, 2020.

For the season, Scoggin averaged 10.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals. She earned first-team All-Region 18 honors and was a member of the Region 18 All-Tournament team while helping the Bruins to the NJCAA Region 18 title and a 20-7 overall record.

The Bruins had a shot to compete in the NJCAA Tournament, which would give Scoggin a chance at greater exposure to Division I coaches. However, the coronavirus outbreak placed another unexpected turn in the road for Scoggin by forcing the cancellation of the national tournament.

"I have always wanted to play at the highest level my game would take me. That has motivated me tremendously," Scoggin said. "When I was going through my injuries I was not going to let any hurdle stop me from reaching my goals. I wanted to prove to myself that I could come out of it and reach my dreams."

So Scoggin treated the virus like another hurdle and set her mind to sprinting right over it.

She was motivated at home in Oregon by more words of wisdom from her father: "The world steps aside for people who know where they are going."

Scoggin knew she was going to play college basketball, but she didn't know where. She knew that she wanted it to be now, and she was going to find her own way to get there.

"I have wanted to play at this level since I was in the sixth grade, watching college basketball on TV. I wanted to be like them. I never lost sight of that. In high school, going to JUCO, going through my injuries, I never gave up," Scoggin said. "I am going to keep coming at something until I get it. No matter what. I have a strong will and I am like that on the court as well. It tells you I'm tough and I have grit. I fight for what I want." 

Since college coaches weren't going to get a chance to see her play, she decided to start reaching out to them directly. She sent more than 100 emails to college coaches, including one on a Saturday night to Nebraska Assistant Coach Chuck Love.

Coach Love responded within five minutes by text. He and Scoggin talked for about 90 minutes that night in April. Soon after, the Huskers offered her a scholarship. On May 2, she signed her letter of intent. On May 19, she was in Lincoln taking classes and preparing for voluntary workouts.

Although the start of the season is still months away, Scoggin is hungry to finally get a taste of Division I competition.

"I believe when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe you will be successful, and I have used that to motivate me," Scoggin said. "I still have a long way to go, but this is the start of another chapter in my book. I love and have a passion for the game. I want to be out there on the court so I can look back and say when I am done with my career, 'I did that.' I want to be proud that I accomplished what I set my mind to. I also want to be a role model for those who may be going through something similar and for them to have hope they can do it, too. If I can do it, anyone can. You just have to believe."