Ana Llanusa had no idea what her season would be like.
A star player in middle school, the Choctaw freshman had an idea of how she could play this season. Choctaw coach Ryan Maloney had some thoughts, too.
“We’ve been waiting for her for a while,” Maloney said. “It’s not like she came out of nowhere. We knew she was down there and had been patiently waiting for her to become a freshman.”
They were still pleasantly surprised as Llanusa took the state by storm, averaging 19.8 points per game, nearly lifting the Yellowjackets to the state championship game and eventually verbally committing to Oklahoma.
“It was fun because everyone was doubting us, saying we couldn’t do it, but we came in and proved a point,” said Llanusa, who is the first freshman on The Oklahoman’s Super 5 since Putnam West’s Danielle Gant in 2002.
Llanusa, a 5-foot-10 guard, was simply electric, also averaging 6.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.8 steals per game. She shot 42 percent from the field and 34 percent from beyond the arc as her jump shot improved immensely.
Her performance in the Class 6A state tournament semifinals revealed to the entire state her potential as she scored 34 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a heartbreaking loss to eventual champion Broken Arrow.
Her performance even drew a strong review from Broken Arrow senior Toree Thompson, who is the Super 5 Player of the Year.
“I didn’t know about her, being a freshman, and she really surprised me,” Thompson said. “She’s going to have a really, really bright future.”
OU learned how good Llanusa is, too.
It didn’t take long after the state tournament for the Sooners to extend an offer to the freshman, who said she took just a few hours to verbally commit despite it being her first scholarship offer.
Her father, Tony, was a wrestler for the Sooners. Her mom, Dusharme, was also Miss Oklahoma in 1992 and Miss Oklahoma USA in 1995, bringing a strong bloodline and ties to the state.
“I’m excited for it,” Ana said. “I just always wanted to go there ever since I was little. Hopefully one day I can go pro and I think Sherri Coale can get me there.”
Until then, Llanusa knows she has to continuously improve. Maloney knows that, too, as teams will likely change the way they defend Llanusa moving forward.
“It surprised me to no end that we didn’t see a ton of no-catching, and box-and-ones, and stuff like that,” he said. “I figured we’d see more of that. That’s going to be the next hurdle we’re going to have to jump is people really keying on her trying to take her out of the ballgame.”
But if things go according to plan, there won’t be much that can stop her.
“I think that semifinal game was a glimpse of what she could be because she was amazing,” Maloney said.