OCU Women’s Basketball’s Newest Three-Point Queen

The race to be crowned as the top three-point shooter in the history of Oakland City University women’s basketball has bridged three eras. Beginning with Casey Mills, whose career culminated in 2000 after setting the bar in every three-point shooting category. Next came Chelsea Miller, a 2009 graduate who raised that bar by eclipsing Mills in everything except attempts in a season. Now, Emilee Hope, who is currently in her fourth season in OCU blue and white, is rewriting the record books again.

A native of Dawson Springs, Kentucky, Casey (Mills) LaGrange came to Oakland City University on a basketball scholarship after an outstanding high school career, where she played basketball, softball, and ran cross country. “When coach recruited me and I came for my campus visit, I liked the campus atmosphere and the home-like feeling I had when I was here,” stated Casey. “I am blessed to have been a part of a winning program, learn more about basketball, and have great teammates and coaches.”

A four-year starter for the Mighty Oaks, she set nearly every record for three-point shooting during her time in the blue and white. She garnered NCCAA All-American honors three times, being named to the honorable mention team in 1998, the second team in 1999, then earning first team honors as a senior in 2000.

Her season total of 81 made threes in the 1996-97 season stood as the record for nearly a decade, and now sits in fourth place. Her career record total of 216 made three pointers in now third all time, while her 1,444 points is sixth in the record books. At the time of her graduation, she was the third highest scorer in OCU women’s basketball history. She was more than just a shooter, as is proven by the fact that she still is the career record holder in both assists, with 462, and steals, with 265. She was inducted into the Oakland City University Athletic Hall of Fame this year.

Chelsea (Miller) Kilian arrived on the OCU campus as part of one of the highest rated incoming classes in team history. She came from Shenandoah High School in Middletown, Indiana, where as a sophomore she was a key part of leading her team to their first ever state championship in 2003. Her senior year was capped by a second state title in 2005, while she also becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer at the time.

Like LaGrange, Kilian also was a four-year starter for the Mighty Oaks when she got to college, earning NCCAA All-American honors three times, earning second team honors as a freshman in 2006 and a senior in 2009, while being named to the honorable mention team as a junior in 2008. She was one of the leaders on the OCU team that finished as the national runner-up in 2009, equaling the best finish in team history.

Her season total of 83 made three-pointers in 2005-06 made her the single-season record holder for almost ten years, while her career total of 267 made threes stood from her graduation in 2009 until being broken during the 2023-24 campaign. With 10 made threes in a game against RMU-Springfield in 2005-06, she still holds the record for a single game. She graduated with 1,278 career points, which stood in eighth place, now ninth, all time.

Emilee Hope joined the Mighty Oaks after a standout high school career at Henderson County High School in Henderson, Kentucky. She was named the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches Second Region Player of the Year as a senior in 2020 and was one of the 19 finalists for the title of Miss Basketball in the state of Kentucky, earning second-team all-state honors. She was poised to lead her team on a state tournament run until the Covid pandemic halted and eventually canceled the tournament.

So far, she has earned the River States Conference Newcomer of the Year award as a freshman in 2021, has been named to the RSC First Team All-Conference in 2021 and 2023, and earned NCCAA All-Tournament Team honors in 2022. In both her sophomore and junior season, she has been one of the leaders helping the Oaks finish as National Runner-Up in the NCCAA National Championship, reaching the title game for the first time since 2009.

Hope has already set the record for threes made in a season with 90 during the 2022-23 campaign, as well as setting a new standard for career made three pointers, which at the time of writing stands at 298. She also is tied for the most made three pointers without a miss in a game with five, set against Marian University on December 19, 2023. During her freshman season, she came one free throw shy of tying the record for three throws made in a row, making 28 straight. She is currently ranked fifth in career steals, with 195, while standing in fifth on the career scoring list with 1,505 points so far.

With remaining games in this season, as well as another year of eligibility, Hope likely will rewrite the record books in a way that will make the next great Oakland City University women’s basketball shooter have to put together four straight years of jaw-dropping prowess to challenge her in any category.