NORFOLK, Va. – The All Star Girls Report has released their top 115 schools’ incoming recruiting classes for 2014 and has ranked the Old Dominion University women’s basketball team No. 43, which is the top ranked team in Conference USA. Just yesterday, Lady Monarch head coach, Karen Barefoot announced the signing of three high school seniors who had signed their national letters of intent to ODU for the 2014-15.
---LADY MONARCH RECRUITING CLASS IN ALL---
Annika Holopainen, (Portland transfer), 6’1, F
Jennie Simms, No. 62 (West Virginia transfer), 6’0, F
From High School
Keyana Brown, No. 284, 5’11, G
Auteaonna Gilmore, No. 114, 5’8 PG
Maia Lee, No. 225, 6’3, C
GET TO KNOW THE NEW LADY MONARCHS
Holopainen, a 6-foot-2 forward from Helsinki, Finland, spent her freshman season at the University of Portland where she was named to the 2012-13 West Coast Conference (WCC) All-Freshman Team. She will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
The second leading scorer for the Pilots this season, Holopainen averaged 9.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest. She shot 41.5 percent from the field (115-for-277) and was 36.1 percent from three-point range (35-for-97). While earning WCC All-Rookie Team honors, she also earned honorable mention for the All-WCC Team as she improved her numbers in league with 10.9 points per contest and shot 38.3 percent from three-point range and 44.7 percent overall from the field.
Simms, a 6-foot forward from Accokeek, Md. who attended high school at Riverdale Baptist, ranked as the No. 87 overall recruit in the country and No. 20 at her position by ESPNUHoopGurlz. She ranked as high as No. 51 by both The JumpOffPlus and Blue Star reports and was listed at No. 62 overall by All-Star Girl's Report coming out of high school. In addition, Simms played locally on Boo Williams' AAU teams and her father, Darrick, played basketball at the University of Virginia from 1985-88.
Earning first team all-conference honors by averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds per game her senior year, Simms led Riverdale Baptist to a 38-2 record and a No. 1 ranking in the East by USA Today. She had 19 points and 14 rebounds in the Crusaders' 63-59 victory over Dr. Phillips High of Orlando, Fla., in the ESPN National High School Invitational (NHSI) championship game. She was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and was on the NHSI All-Tournament Team.
Simms will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules and joins Holopainen, as additions to the Lady Monarchs basketball program eligible to compete in the 2014-15 season.
Keyana Brown is a 5-foot-11 guard, who will play her senior season for her father, first year head coach, Chris Brown at Lafayette High School. Keyana transferred from Williamsburg Christian Academy, where she led the team in scoring and rebounding since being a starter since eighth-grade. Brown passed the 2,000-point career mark during her junior season. The Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association named Brown to the All-State First-Team for Division III. Last year, Williamsburg Christian Academy finished 31-8 and Brown passed the 2,000-point career mark during her junior season. As a sophomore in the 2011-2012 season, she was named the Division III Player of the Year. Brown has been named to the Daily Press All-Stars for three straight seasons. Also, Brown played for the Elite Boo Williams 16U AAU team in the summer.
“Keyana has a scorer's mentality. She has the ability to score in various ways,” exclaimed Barefoot. “She can stretch the defense with her deep-range three-point shooting ability, she makes good basketball plays and is a strong rebounder.”
Auteaonna (‘Onna’) Gilmore is an ESPN three-star recruit, who is a 5-foot-8 point guard from Fort Washington, Md. Auteaonna made the 2013 Washington Post All-Metro Team. In the offseason, Gilmore transferred to Capital Christian Academy, where she will play her senior season. Ironically, Gilmore will be reunited at Old Dominion with Jennie Simms (an ESPN Top 100 player), where the two played together in 2010-12 for nationally ranked No. 2 Riverdale Baptist High School. Simms transferred to ODU from West Virginia University and will be eligible to play next season, exactly when Gilmore will put on a Lady Monarch’s uniform for the first time. Gilmore is a member of the Fairfax Stars AAU team.
Coach Barefoot talked about her incoming point guard, “Onna is a point guard who has tremendous court awareness. She is a good three-point shooter, and has the ability to attack the basket and make big plays. She will fit our system with her hard-nosed defensive abilities and toughness.”
Maia Lee is a 6-foot-3 forward, who is currently rated the 22nd best high school girl’s basketball player in the country at her position by ESPN, as well as rated a three-star recruit by ESPN. Lee is a senior at McLean High School in Northern Virginia and was selected to the Liberty District All-Tournament Team. Lee is a member of Team Takeover 16U.
Barefoot remarked, “Maia is an exceptional athlete. She is a great defender who is long, aggressive and is an outstanding rebounder. She runs the floor and can score in transition. Maia really fits our up-tempo system.”
Barefoot explained, “I am thrilled to have Keyana, Onna and Maia to join our ODU Lady Monarch basketball family. They have high character, they are good students, and they strive for excellence both on and off the court.”
Follow Old Dominion women's basketball on Twitter at twitter.com/ODUWBB and find them on Facebook at facebook.com/LadyMonarchsWBB.