In order for the Northwestern State women’s basketball team to add some size, head coach Jordan Dupuy dipped into a long-term relationship.
Dupuy announced Thursday the addition of Fordham University transfer Halei Gillis, a 6-foot-4 forward/center originally from Asheville, North Carolina. Dupuy previously had recruited Gillis out of Carolina Day School before he arrived at Northwestern State prior to the 2016-17 season.
“I am very excited about adding Halei to our Lady Demon family,” said Dupuy, who will start his fourth season in November. “I started recruiting her late in her sophomore year when I was at Southern Miss and her, her mother, Marcie, and I developed a bond that has lasted over the years. She will bring size, strength and character to our program and the ability to score it inside and out. She will also be a great representative of our program and our university in both the classroom and in the community.”
Under NCAA transfer rules, Gillis will sit out the 2019-20 season and have two years of eligibility remaining. Gillis chose the Lady Demons from more than 20 schools that contacted her after her entry into the NCAA transfer portal.
In two seasons at Fordham, Gillis appeared in 26 games and helped the Rams reach the national postseason each year. During Gillis’ time with the Rams, Fordham won the 2019 Atlantic 10 Tournament championship and faced Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament.
During Gillis’ freshman season, the Rams advanced to the WNIT, defeating Harvard and Drexel before falling to Virginia Tech.
In 18 games that season, Gillis averaged 1.2 points per game while grabbing 2.7 rebounds per game. Seventeen of her 48 rebounds came on the offensive end in 12.4 minutes per game.
Prior to her two seasons at Fordham, Gillis was a standout multi-sport athlete at Carolina Day School.
A five-year letter winner at Carolina Day School, Gillis played a pivotal role in five state titles. Across her final two seasons, Gillis averaged a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds while adding an average of three blocks per game. She earned NCISAA All-State honors in each of her final two seasons on the court.
In addition to her basketball prowess, Gillis was a two-time state champion in the discus while also competing at the state level in the shot put, helping the Wildcats to three straight state championships. As a senior, Gillis earned Girls 2-A Track and Field Athlete of the Year honor in her senior year.
“Halei has always been a winner in both basketball and track, and we are looking forward to her continuing her winning ways here in Demonland,” Dupuy said.
Alongside basketball, academics played a key role in Gillis’ decision to transfer to Northwestern State.
“I chose Northwestern State to fulfill my academic and athletic ambitions,” Gillis said. “Northwestern State’s nurse practitioner program is ranked fifth in the United States. When meeting with professors and staff, I felt like I would get the individual student and athletic support that matches my needs and felt at home on their campus.
“I really enjoyed my visit and the time I spent with the coaches and the players and feel like this is going to be a great fit. I am excited for this opportunity to be a part of the Lady Demons and what my future holds at Northwestern State.”
Photo: Fordham’s Halei Gillis (right) has transferred to Northwestern State where she will be eligible to play in 2020-21. Credit: Fordham athletics