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Bettendorf's Emily Ivory chases down a rebound during a game last season. Ivory committed Wednesday to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Jeff Cook, Quad-City Times

Emily Ivory always has had a desire to live in a big city. She visits Chicago frequently, enjoys attending Cubs games and walking around the Windy City.

Ivory is taking her basketball talents to a large metropolitan area.

The Bettendorf senior gave the University of Missouri-Kansas City a verbal commitment Wednesday starting for the 2018-19 season.

"I fell in love with Kansas City," Ivory said. "The campus is near the downtown but it still felt like a college campus. It is very pretty. 

"Ever since I was young, it has been a dream of mine to play college basketball and I wanted to live in a bigger city. This is the best of both worlds."

Ivory, a third team all-state selection by the Iowa Newspaper Association last winter, averaged a team-high 16.2 points while making a Class 5A-best 69 shots from behind the 3-point line.

The guard received an offer from UMKC, a Division I program which competes in the Western Athletic Conference, in early August. She took a visit to the campus last weekend.

Besides the city, Ivory was drawn to head coach Jacie Hoyt and assistant coach Kindred Wesemann. Both are starting their first season with the Kangaroos, who are coming off a 10-19 season.

Wesemann just finished her collegiate career at Kansas State.

"We just clicked," Ivory said. "Coach (Wesemann) was a really good 3-point shooter and that stuck with me. It will be good having her as a leader and role model."

UMKC's coaching staff saw Ivory play in July with Lady Pure Prep, an AAU team based out of Des Moines. Ivory was on the squad with Davenport North's Paige Bradford and Rock Island's Chrislyn Carr.

Ivory chose UMKC over Division II power Emporia State. She also had offers from the University of Sioux Falls, Wayne State, Winona State and Upper Iowa.

"I wasn't too caught up on the Division I or II thing," Ivory said. "I just wanted to find the right fit for me. I went where I felt the most comfortable."

Just 5-foot-5, Ivory's biggest asset is her outside shooting.

The all-Mississippi Athletic Conference guard shot nearly 40 percent from the 3-point line a year ago and has made 133 trifectas the past two seasons.

"I feel my range and how quick I can get my shot off is definitely a big thing for me, but I've got a lot of stuff to work on to make an impact at the next level," Ivory said.

Closing in on 800 career points, Ivory has lofty goals for her final season with the Bulldogs. Coach Brian Tritt's squad is coming off a 16-7 season.

"I just need to keep getting stronger in the weight room and develop more into a leadership role," Ivory said. "Basketball-wise, I need to get to the basket more and finish with contact. That comes from getting stronger."

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Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.