The UAlbany women’s basketball program secured a verbal commitment Monday from one of Section II’s top players.
That’s Lilly Phillips, a Cambridge junior who has helped lead her high school team to back-to-back-to-back Section II Class C championships while starring alongside twin sister Sophie Phillips and playing for father Bob Phillips. Cambridge won the 2019 Class C state championship, and appeared on its way to defending its title before this year’s state tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A full-time varsity player since she was a freshman, Lilly Phillips averaged 15.2 points per game last season when she was named a Class C first-team all-state selection. She also earned an All-Gazette third-team selection.
Phillips said she made a visit last spring to UAlbany, and picked joining the Great Danes over offers from Bryant, Manhattan and Monmouth.
“Albany was really high on my list from the start because of the coaching staff,” Phillips said. “They feel like family.”
Phillips visited UAlbany last year with her twin sister, but said the siblings have tried to separate their recruiting and decision-making process as much as possible.
“We have had a lot of discussion about things and we’ve done a lot together, but we’ve also thought about it all separately, as well,” Phillips said. “We both like the idea of going somewhere together, but going separate places isn’t a horrible idea, either. Where we end up, if it’s together, that’s awesome — but, if not, we’re OK with that, too.”
Last season, Sophie Phillips was named the Class C state player of the year and was an All-Gazette first-team selection.
A 6-foot-0 guard, Lilly Phillips said she liked the time she spent last year on UAlbany’s campus and wants to study physical therapy in college. That she’ll get to play her college basketball within the Capital Region was important to her, too.
“Just being able to stay near home and have my family be able to come to the games, that was really big for me,” Phillips said.
That Logan Thayne, a Hoosick Falls senior, will join the UAlbany program next season helped make Phillips’ decision a bit easier.
“I know her really well. Our parents have known each other for a long time, and our high school teams are in the [Wasaren League], so we’ve played each other twice a year,” said Phillips, who played AAU basketball with Thayne. “That was an added bonus for Albany. It wasn’t what made me decide to go there, but it definitely was a bonus.”
Phillips said she made her commitment Monday morning, then spent a large chunk of her afternoon responding to messages of congratulations.
“It’s definitely been exciting,” Phillips said. “It’s awesome to see that support.”