BALTIMORE, Md. - Head women's basketball coach Phil Stern signed six standout student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the NCAA's early signing period.
"We are excited to welcome our newest Retrievers to the family!" Stern said. "This recruiting class will fill many needs due to graduation. These young ladies are high character student-athletes who fit our profile on and off the court."
5'11 Guard O'lesheya Braxton (Paterson, N.J./Paterson Kennedy HS)
Averaged 9.2 ppg and 6.8 rpg as a junior… Scored a career-high 25 points against Bergen Tech… Netted 12 points in the Lady Knights' upset of No.15 East Orange in the NJSIAA/ShopRite Group 4 semifinals… Chipped in 11 points to help Paterson Kennedy earn a win in the North Jersey, Section1, Group 4 tournament final… Played AAU basketball for Ladies Play Too.
Stern on Braxton: "OB is a very talented player who will be able to play multiple positions at the college level. She can score off the dribble or spot up and knock down the three. She also has excellent court vision."
6'2" Forward Jen Gast (Baltimore, Md./Catonsville HS)
Averaged 9.9 ppg and a team-high 8.4 rpg as a junior… Helped lead Comets to the MPSSAA Class 4A Quarterfinal… Will serve as a team captain her senior year… First Team All-County and All-Division Award honoree… Earned the Barry Lanman Honor Award… Recipient of the Janice Leishear Athletic Award… Member of the Maryland Belles AAU team… Competed in DMVelite's Governor's Challenge… Also a member of the varsity soccer team, where she earned All-Division honors and was selected to the Baltimore County Senior All-Star game...also played varsity lacrosse.
Stern on Gast: "We are very excited to keep Jen home. She is a versatile forward and a perfect fit into our system."
5'8" Guard Natalia Louhisdon (Monmouth Junction, N.J./South Brunswick HS)
Averaged 14.8 points and 4.7 rebounds as a junior… Scored 19 points in South Brunswick's quarterfinals victory over Sayerville… Chipped in a team-high 20 points to keep the Vikings unbeaten… Netted a career-high 25 points against Piscataway… Played for Team Miller Lightning AAU with Janeea' Summers and Melody Van Ness… 2015-16 Red Division champion… 2015-16 All-Red Division First-Team… Earned the Greater Middlesex Conference Academic Award for three years.
Stern on Louhisdon: "Natalia can score in many different ways and has improved her game each time we have seen her play. Her work ethic is second to none."
5'11" Forward Janee'a Summers (Bound Brook, N.J./Bound Brook HS)
1,000-point scorer and 1,000-rebounds at Bound Brook High School… Has tallied 1,727 points and 1,262 boards for the Crusaders… As a junior, posted a double-double (28 pts, 14 rebs) in Bound Brook's Central Group I semifinal win over Haddon Heights… Scored 17 points and grabbed nine boards in State Group I finals game… Averaged 21.4 ppg and 13.3 rpg as a junior… Two-time first-team All-Conference selection… Selected to NJ.com's All-Group 1 first-team… Named to NJ.com's 2015-16 All-Junior Girls second-team… Played for Team Miller Lightning AAU with Natalia Louhisdon and Melody Van Ness.
Stern on Summers: "Janee'a nevers takes a play off on either end of the court. She is a relentless rebounder and a skilled offensive player. She will be able to play facing up and with her back to the basket in our system."
5'10" Guard Kristen Teklits (New Fairfield, Conn./New Fairfield HS)
Two-time first-team All-Conference selection... Scored a game-high 29 points in the 2016 Class L semifinal game for the Rebels… Helped New Fairfield win a Southwest Conference Championship in 2015... Member of the Westchester Hoopers AAU team… Earned a spot in the West 4th All-Star Game... New Times Holiday Classic First Team Selection in 2013 … Martin Luther Holiday Classic MVP 2012.
Stern on Teklits: "Kristen is one of the better shooters that we have seen on the AAU circuit. She has the ability to stretch the defense well beyond the three-point line."
5'7" Guard Melody Van Ness (Somerville, N.J./Somerville HS)
Three-year starter and 1,000-point scorer at Somerville High School… Has tallied 1,145 points for the Pioneers… Averaged 18.3 ppg as a junior… Earned 2013-14 Defensive Player of the Year and 2015-16 Offensive Player of the Year honors… Scored a career-high 31 points against Johnson… Scored a game-winning three-point basket against Hunterdon Central… 2015 First-team All-Conference selection… Named to NJ.com's 2015-16 All-Group 3 second-team…Named to NJ.com's 2015-16 All-Junior Girls third-team… Played for Team Miller Lightning AAU with Janeea' Summers and Natalia Louhisdon.
Stern on Van Ness: "Mel is the total package. She can run a team and distribute or score at will when needed. She has great three-point range and also has an uncanny ability to score in traffic."