Lady Panthers announce four signings for 2023-24

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Drury Lady Panthers head coach Kaci Bailey has announced her first set of signings for the 2023-24 season. Makaiya Brooks, the former Central High School star who is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Springfield Public Schools, will return home and play for Drury after two years at the University of Memphis. In addition, Drury will bring in transfers Beth Matas Martin, a graduate transfer from Quincy, Gabby Burns, a senior transfer from Quincy, and freshman guard Kaylee King, a two-time Class 2 Player of the Year out of Ellington, Missouri. 
Makaiya Brooks (G, Jr., 5-8, Springfield, Mo., Memphis / Central HS)
Makaiya Brooks returns to Springfield after two seasons at Division I Memphis. She played in 52 games for the Tigers during the last two years and scored 111 points. She appeared in 27 games for a Memphis team that went 22-11 in 2022-23 and reached the third round of the WNIT. Brooks was named the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week on Dec. 27, 2021, her first collegiate season.
Brooks set the city public school’s scoring record with 2,359 points during her four-year career at Central High School. She was a two-time All-State selection in Class 6 and a three-time All-Ozark Conference honoree. As a senior, she was a McDonald’s All-American nominee and helped the Bulldogs to their first district championship in 34 years.
Brooks will be an Exercise Science major at Drury.
“We’re super-excited to bring home Springfield’s all-time leading scorer,” said Bailey. “She is a three-level scorer, is an instant offensive threat, and I’m excited to have her finish her career in her hometown!”
Beth Matas Martin (G, Gr., 5-6, Girona, Spain, Quincy Univ. / Garden City CC)
Beth Matas Martin will be a graduate transfer for the Lady Panthers and comes to Drury from Quincy University, where she played the last two seasons for current DU head coach Kaci Bailey. Martin was a Second Team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference selection last year after averaging 16.3 points, the fifth-best scoring average in the conference. The native of Girona, Spain was also second in the league in three-point percentage (.398), second in three’s made per game (2.6), and ranked third in assists (4.0 per game). She started her college career at Garden City Community College and, in four years, has scored more than 1,000 points and has more than 400 assists in the two stops combined.
In Martin’s final game at Quincy, she scored 26 points against the Lady Panthers in the GLVC Quarterfinals. She topped 20 points nine times last season and had a career-high 33 against Maryville on Jan. 28. 
“I’ve coached Beth for two years as she was one of my first signees at Quincy,” noted Bailey. “She’s an elite scorer who has proven herself in this conference. I’m excited to coach her in her final season!”
Martin will pursue a Master’s of Business Administration at Drury.
Gabby Burns (G, Sr., 5-11, Kansas City, Mo., Quincy Univ. / Liberty North HS)
Gabby Burns will also transfer to Drury after playing three seasons at Quincy. The 5-11 guard played in 27 games and made 23 starts for the Hawks. She averaged 2.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and had 22 steals for the season. The Kansas City, Missouri, native served as Quincy’s lock-down defender and brings three seasons of GLVC experience to the roster.
She was a Greater Kansas City Suburban Conference Red Division Honorable-Mention selection as a senior at Liberty North HS and is a Psychology major.
“Gabby is a leader who can connect with every person on the team,” said Bailey. “She is what our culture stands for. She also guarded the best player each night over the last year. I’m thankful she chose to come with us to Drury!”
Kaylee King (G., Fr., 5-6, Ellington, Mo., Ellington HS)
Kaylee King comes to Drury from Ellington HS in Missouri, where she was the Class 2 Player of the Year in the state in 2022, was the Co-Player of the Year in Class 2 in 2023, and was a McDonald’s All-American nominee this season. King had a prolific four-year high school career for Ellington, scoring 2,965 points during her four seasons, and averaged 32.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, four assists, and 3.3 steals in 2022-23. She also shot .546 from the field, .398 from three-point range, and .875 from the free-throw line during the season and helped the Lady Whippets to a 25-5 record. King led Ellington to back-to-back state championship game appearances, and her team won the 2021 state title as she scored 25 points in the championship game as a sophomore.
She was the valedictorian of her high school class and plans to be an Exercise Science and Pre-Physical Therapy major at Drury.
“Kayee has a high motor and high IQ along with a natural ability to score in bunches,” said coach Bailey. “She also has the ability to make others around her better – that’s special. She will be a big part of the next four years.” 
The four signees will join six returners for the Lady Panthers in 2023-24 with new head coach Kaci Bailey. Drury went 31-2 last season with a 20-0 mark in the GLVC, won the conference championship, advanced to the NCAA-II Tournament, and ended the year ranked 8th nationally in the final NCAA-II coaches’ poll.
Bailey expects to announce additional signees in the coming weeks.

This article is provided by Drury University Athletics
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