Posted: May 2, 2013 3:25 PM
JEFFERSON CITY - A prolific scorer and two state champions highlight the Lincoln women's basketball team's 2013 signing class, announced by head coach Nicole Collier on Thursday. Seven athletes, including six transfers and one freshman, have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their playing careers with the Blue Tigers beginning with the 2013-14 season.
"The coaching staff is elated about the student athletes that have committed to play at Lincoln University," Collier said. "Our success the previous two years has helped us gain momentum in recruiting and we feel that we have brought in impact players that can compete and win at this level while also succeeding in the classroom."
Hunter Yoakum, a four-time all-district honoree from Dixon, Mo., will begin her collegiate career as a freshman with four years of eligibility. Kelsey Williams, Lizzie Nessling, Angela Randall, Kieanna Wharton will all enter as sophomores while LU's two other signees, Kelsey Griffin and Jennifer Rosado, will begin their Blue Tiger careers as juniors.
No player at Dixon High or in the Frisco League, male or female, has scored more points than Yoakum did her in career. As a senior, Yoakum averaged 21.5 points per game, finishing with 702 points for the season. Yoakum, a Missouri Basketball Coaches Association first-team honoree, finished her career with 2,578 points, breaking the record for the most by any Frisco League high school athlete. A two-time all-state selection by the Missouri Sportscasters, Yoakum earned first team all-district and all-conference honors in all four seasons at Dixon High and was the Frisco League Most Valuable Player for the 2012-13 season. Yoakum started every varsity game for Dixon High over the past four years and is a four-time selection to the KJEL Area All-Star Team.
"Hunter is a multi-dimensional athlete that has flown under the radar through high school, but has the capabilities to play at a very high level with her ability to create her own shot," Collier said. "We are very excited about her future, both at Lincoln University and in the MIAA."
A transfer from Moberly Area Community College, Williams also had a highly decorated high school career, highlighted by her leading Eminence High to its first-ever state championship in 2012. A fantastic all-around athlete who also won a state championship with Eminence's volleyball team, Williams is the school's career scoring leader, finishing with 1,925 points. In high school she averaged 20.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and six assists, earning all-state recognition from the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association after all four seasons. A 5-7 guard, Williams is a four-time all-Big Spring Conference first team selection and was named the league's Most Valuable Player twice. She also was named all-state three times by the Missouri media. In her one season at Moberly, Williams, MVP and a 1st Team All Region 16 player; averaged a team best 10 points and five assists per game and led the Greyhounds to a 23-8 overall record.
"Kelsey is a polished athlete that is extremely athletic and has a very high basketball IQ," Collier said. "Complementing her IQ and athleticism; she has an impeccable work ethic and is a fierce competitor. We are looking for her to be an immediate impact in our program."
Nessling, a 5-9 guard from Couch, Mo., is also transferring from Moberly Area Community College as a sophomore after playing in 25 games during her freshman campaign. Nessling averaged a double-double during her senior season at Couch High, tallying 17 points and 11 rebounds per game. She led Couch to a pair of Class 2 Final Four appearances, earning all-state recognition in 2011 and 2012. She also earned all-district honors three times.
"With Lizzie's desire and determination and there is no doubt that she will evolve into a great perimeter player and at the same time make us more physical as a team," Collier said.
A 5-6 guard out of St. Louis, Mo., Randall redshirted with the Blue Tigers during the 2012-13 season, practicing with the team throughout the season. A transfer from Mineral Area Community College, Randall led her North Technical High team to two winning seasons, including a Class 3 District Championship and MSHSAA playoff appearance in 2010. Randall was selected all-district as a senior after ranking among the St. Louis area leaders in assists (4.43 per game) and steals (4.0). At Mineral, she averaged 5.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals.
"Angie understands what we are trying to accomplish and will compete for playing time at the point guard position," Collier said. "She is a great on-ball defender and will bring an up-tempo style of play to our team."
Wharton, a 6-3 forward from Indianapolis, Ind., began her collegiate career as a redshirt at Division I Arkansas State before transferring to Kaskaskia College. At Kaskaskia, she helped lead the team to a 24-9 record, making 47.1% of her field goal attempts in the process.
"Kie is coming from two very good programs in Arkansas State and Kaskaskia College," Collier said. "She has a huge upside and will give us a dimension inside that we lacked last year. We are looking for her to do great things and we are especially looking forward to having her for 3 more years."
A transfer from North Central Missouri College, Griffin averaged 10.5 points and 3.7 assists last season while leading the Lady Pirates to 15 victories. That followed a freshman campaign in which NCMC won 16 games with Griffin averaging 6.8 points and 3.7 assists. A 5-8 guard out of Marshall, Mo., Griffin averaged 9.5 points and 6.1 boards as a senior at Smith-Cotton High en route to being named all-district by the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
"Kelsey is another player that has more than one specialty," Collier said. "She can run the backup point, shooting guard and attack off the dribble. We are very excited about the experience and work ethic she will bring to the guard position."
Rosado, a 5-9 guard out of Cache, Okla., began her college career at Cameron University before transferring to Seminole State College last season. She appeared in 19 games off the bench at Cameron, scoring 19 points with 13 rebounds. She had more of a chance to shine at Seminole State, averaging 12 points per game while shooting 82% from the free throw line and 44% from three point land. Rosado had a very successful career at Cache High, leading the Lady Bulldogs to a 30-0 record and the 2010 Class 4A state title, tallying three treys and 11 total points in the championship game.
"Jennifer is an athletic guard that can handle the ball, create her own shot, knock down the three and distribute the ball," Collier said. "This was definitely a position of concern for us next year and the coaching staff feels we found the right player to complete our guard rotation."
The Blue Tigers have won at least 11 games in three of the past four seasons and are coming off their second-straight appearance in the MIAA Women's Basketball Championship tournament.