Prep Basketball

Ella Van Weelden, Sasha Koenig commit to Missouri Valley women's basketball programs

Marion's Van Weelden picks Valparaiso; West Branch's Koenig will join older sister at Bradley

Marion's Ella Van Weelden (25) makes a basket at the 2019 girls' state basketball tournament. A junior, Van Weelden has
Marion’s Ella Van Weelden (25) makes a basket at the 2019 girls’ state basketball tournament. A junior, Van Weelden has committed to Valpariaso University. (The Gazette)

Two of the top girls’ basketball players in the area made Division-I college commitments Saturday.

Marion junior Ella Van Weelden confirmed on social media that she will attend Valparaiso University, and West Branch junior Sasha Koenig said that she will join older sister Tatum Koenig at Bradley.

Van Weelden has been a key part in Marion’s recent run of success. She was part of the Indians’ Class 4A state-championship team as a freshman in 2018, and averaged 10.1 points per game last season as the Indians took runner-up honors.

Her commitment gives Marion’s 2019-20 squad three future Division-I players. Senior Kayba Laube and junior Riley Wright both have committed to Northern Iowa.

At 6-foot-1, Van Weelden led the Indians (23-2) last season at 6.6 rebounds per game. She shot 49 percent from the field, including 37 percent from 3-point distance. She has scored 361 points in two seasons.

A 5-5 guard, Koenig averaged 16.6 points, 4.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game in 2018 as the Bears went 15-5. She has 600 career points with two seasons to go.

Tatum Koenig emerged as the starting point guard for the Braves midway through her freshman season. The Koenig sisters will have one season together in Peoria, in 2021-22.


Valpo (8-24 last season) and Bradley (20-10) both are members of the Missouri Valley Conference.

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