There's a new group of players ready to wear the blue and white, as the Lincoln women's basketball team has announced a group of seven players as its signing class for the 2013-14 season.
The group includes one freshman and six transfer players - four sophomores and two juniors. The Blue Tigers are coming off back-to-back appearances in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Tournament.
"The coaching staff is elated about the student athletes that have committed to play at Lincoln University," Lincoln head coach Nicole 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."
The group includes:
• Hunter Yoakum, a four-time all-district honoree from Dixon High School.
No player at Dixon, male or female, scored more than Yoakum's 2,578 career points, also the most ever scored by any player in the history of the Frisco League. As a senior, she racked up 702 for an average of 21.5 per game. She was named a first-team all-state honoree by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association first-team honoree and is a two-time all-state selection by the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. The 5-foot-7 player started every varsity game for Dixon over the past four years and was the Frisco League Most Valuable Player for the 2012-13 season.
"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."
• Kelsey Williams, a transfer from Moberly Area Community College who will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Williams led Eminence High School to state championships in both basketball and volleyball. She is Eminence's all-time leading scorer in basketball, racking up 1,925 points. In high school she averaged 20.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and six assists per game, earning all-state recognition from the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association all four seasons and three times from the media. A 5-7 guard, she was the MVP and a First Team All Region 16 player at MACC. She averaged a team-best 10 points and five assists per game and led the Greyhounds to a 23-8 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."
• Lizzie Nessling, a transfer from Moberly Area Community College who will enter as a sophomore.
The 5-9 guard from Couch High School, played in 25 games during her freshman campaign at Moberly Area. During her senior year at Couch, she averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds per game. She led the school to a pair of Class 2 Final Four appearances, earning all-state recognition in 2011 and 2012.
"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.
• Angela Randall, who will have three years of eligibility after practicing with the Blue Tigers while redshirting this past season.
A 5-6 guard from St. Louis, Randall transferred in after one year at Mineral Area Community College, where she averaged 5.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals per contest. At North Tech, Randall was all-district as a senior after ranking among the St. Louis area leaders in assists (4.43 per game) and steals (4.0).
"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 uptempo style of play to our team."
• Kieanna Wharton, a sophomore-to-be who is a 6-3 forward.
She began her collegiate career as a redshirt at Division I Arkansas State before transferring to Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Ill. At Kaskaskia, she helped the team to a 24-9 record, averaging 4.2 points while making 47.1 percent of her field-goal attempts and added 4.0 rebounds per game. At Pike High School in Indianapolis, she averaged seven points and five rebounds per contest.
"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 three more years."
• Kelsey Griffin, a junior-to-be coming from North Central Missouri College.
Griffin averaged 10.5 points and 3.7 assists last season while leading the Lady Pirates to 15 wins. That followed a freshman campaign when Griffin averaged 6.8 points and 3.7 assists. A 5-8 guard out of Marshall, Griffin averaged 9.5 points and 6.1 boards as a senior at Sedalia Smith-Cotton en route to being named all-district.
"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."
• Jennifer Rosado, a 5-9 guard from Cache, Okla.
Rosado began her college career at Cameron University before transferring to Seminole State College last season. After limited playing time at Cameron, she averaged 12 points per game at Seminole State while shooting 82 percent from the free-throw line and 44 percent from 3-point land. At Cache High, she led the Lady Bulldogs to a 30-0 record and the 2010 Class 4A state title, tallying 11 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."