Hailey looks to leave impact in final season at WSU

Guard played basketball with boys at five, hopes to become coach in future



Senior guard Caila Hailey yells a play to her teammates during the game against USC on Friday at Beasley Coliseum. WSU lost 73-72.

TYLER SHUEY, Evergreen columnist

Senior guard Caila Hailey grew up in Southern California, where basketball was embedded in her family’s culture.

The sport was a constant presence during her childhood. Her father, William, played at Whittier College, and her brother Cameron currently plays at Western Oklahoma State College.

“My father is definitely my role model,” Hailey said. “Without family, its hard to get to the places you want to be in life.”

She began playing basketball when she was 5 years old. Hailey said she was much better than the other girls she played with, so they let her play with the boys. Getting thrown in with the boys at an early age has helped her to this day, she said.

Hailey’s fascination with the game grew, and by the time she was a freshman in high school, she knew she had a chance to play at the collegiate level, she said. She signed with the Cougars before ever taking a visit to Pullman.

“I was kind of nervous coming up [to Pullman],” Hailey said. “I fell in love with the family atmosphere right when I got on campus.”

Hailey prides herself on her ability to be a defensive stopper and a lethal on-ball defender. She sees this as one of her greatest strengths in the game.

“My dad always instilled in me that defense is a will and a want,” she said.

One of Hailey’s closest friends has been redshirt junior forward Louise Brown. The two have lived together for two years.

“We’re basically inseparable,” Brown said. “She’s one of the most loyal people I’ve ever met.”

Brown said Hailey has become a consistent voice of leadership for the Cougars over the past year.

“She calls us out when we need it,” Brown said. “The heart and passion she plays with gets us going.”

One of Hailey’s personal goals before her WSU basketball career ends is to make the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team, after being named an honorable mention last season. She credits WSU Head Coach June Daugherty and the coaching staff for her development over the past four years, and for giving her an opportunity to play Division-I basketball at a Pac-12 school.

“Without them, I wouldn’t be here,” Hailey said. “I can’t thank them enough.”

She is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in sport management and a minor in communication. As for her post-college basketball career, Hailey said she has discovered an interest in coaching since coming to Pullman.

Brown said Hailey’s departure at the end of this season will be felt throughout the entire team.

“I’m going to miss her friendship,” Brown said. “It’s going to be tough for me not having her around next year.”