Women’s basketball finalizes 2017 recruiting class, adds seven new players
COMMERCE– The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team has announced seven signings for the upcoming 2017-18 season. The team has signed three transfer athletes and four first-year students.
“I’m very excited we were able to bring in a great mix of youth and experience with four incoming freshmen and three quality transfers and a whole lot of shot-making ability from a distance,” said head coach Jason Burton. Our goal with this class was to find people that fit in our culture can play multiple positions and can shoot the three. We feel like we accomplished that. I can’t be more excited about this class joining an adamant nucleus that we have returning next year.”
Two of the three transfer students are from the state of Texas. Junior Bri’An Washington, a 5-foot-7 guard from Midland, transfers to A&M-Commerce after two seasons at Cisco College. The Lions’ latest recruit, London Holland, a 5-foot-8 guard from McKinney, comes to the Lions after two seasons at Florida A&M. Melanie Ransom, a 5-foot-9 guard from Lansing, Ill., completes the transfer signings for the Lions after she played four seasons at Davidson University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.
“Our three transfers bring high-level experience, with two being Division I transfers and the other a high-level scorer in an excellent junior college conference,” Burton said. “Melanie is our most experienced player with four years of college experience and has played at the highest level. We are counting on her to be a big time impact for the Lions at multiple positions. Along with experience, London and Bri’an bring shooting, the ability to get to the basket and high-level defense to the wing, which is must-need with the loss of Natalie Hessong and Krystal Pickron.”
In her senior season at Davidson, Ransom set career highs in nearly every offensive and defensive category. She played in 69 games over three seasons for the Wildcats, scoring 135 points while grabbing 75 rebounds and dishing out 23 assists. In her high school career, Ransom was a three-year letter winner in basketball and track and field at Walther Lutheran High School. She was a four-year All-Academic Athlete and was twice named South Suburban Christian Conference Player of the Year. Ransom was a three-time First Team All-Conference selection and was twice named Second Team All-State. She was also a USATF State and Regional Champion in the 400-meter dash as a junior.
Holland scored 131 points, grabbed 53 rebounds, dished out 20 assists and captured 19 steals in 41 games for the FAMU Rattlers. She averaged 13.5 minutes per game while shooting 34 percent from the field and 23 percent from behind the arc. As a freshman, she scored a career-high 13 points to go along with three rebounds against North Carolina A&T. She also had a 13-point game in the team’s win against Delaware State and an 11-point game in the team’s win against Clemson. She also had a seven rebound game against North Carolina A&T.
Washington was named to the All-Conference and All-District teams her sophomore year at Cisco College. She played in 27 games and started 26, averaging 12.8 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 30 percent from behind the arc and 77 percent from the free throw line. Washingon scored a career-high 34 points against Paris Junior College in November, making eight three-pointers. She averaged 8.7 points and shot 35 percent from three as a freshman, garnering Honorable Mention All-Conference honors.
The Lions also signed four freshmen who are each Texas natives: 6-foot forward Jocelyn Pierce from Argyle High School, 5-foot-9 guard Alex Nance from Round Rock High School, 5-foot-7 guard Taylor Green from Round Rock Stony Point High School, and 5-foot-3 guard Kiara Pesina from San Antonio Highlands High School.
“Our four freshmen are used to winning and hard work,” Burton said. “They are a good mix of State Champions, All-Region and All-State performers and ESPN-rated prospects.”
Pierce, an Argyle native, comes to A&M-Commerce from the back-to-back-to-back 4A State Champion Argyle Eagles, where she was named District 9-4A Defensive Player of the Year. She was named a 2017 McDonald’s All-American nominee in the state of Texas. In her junior year, she was named First Team All-District. In addition to her basketball efforts, Pierce was also a Second Team All-Area selection in cross country and was named Academic All-State.
“Jocelyn will add quality depth to our post position and is a proven winner,” Burton said. “She’s undefeated on our court, with the state regional tournament being in our gym for Argyle, and she is also a three-time state champ. She is tough and knows how to win.”
Nance, a Round Rock native, was also named a 2017 McDonald’s All-American nominee in the state of Texas. As a senior, she was named Academic All-District and was a Second Team All-District selection. She was also team MVP. As a junior, she was a Second Team All-District selection and was named Defensive MVP of her team. As a sophomore, she was named Offensive MVP for her team as well as Academic All-District and Second Team All-District. She was a 4.0 student all four years at Round Rock.
“Nance is another high energy, tough player that can play multiple positions and just wants to win,” Burton said. “People feed off her energy and how hard she plays, and you just can’t teach that.”
Green, a native of Round Rock, was named to the All-Academic team as a senior at Stony Point. She was also named Second Team All-District after leading her team in assists and steals. She made ESPN’s 2017 HoopGurlz Basketball Prospects list, receiving a grade of 89. She averaged 11.8 points, 2.4 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game as a senior.
Pesina, a San Antonio native, was named to the TGCA All-State and All-State Academic teams as a senior. She was also a TABC All-Region selection and made the Greater San Antonio 5A City Team. She was a four-time All-Academic selection at Lee and was also a four-time All-District selection. As a sophomore, Pesina was named District Defensive Player of the Year. Her team was district champions in both her sophomore and junior seasons.
“Kiara and Taylor add more quality depth to a position we have to get better at with the loss of Khala Riley,” Burton said. “Princess Davis will return this season at point guard after coming off her injury, but we will not rush the process. Taylor can play both the point and shooting guard positions. She loves to defend the ball and can shoot the three. Kiara is a true point guard that knows how to run a team but can also score the ball. She may be small in stature, but because people have doubted her in the case of her size, she plays with a chip on her shoulder, which I love.”
The Lions’ 2017-18 season schedule will be released later this summer.