Women's Hoops Announces Signees For 2001-02 Season

June 27, 2001

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - JU head women's basketball coach Melissa Taketa announced the signing of seven players for the 2001-02 season, including Florida 6A Player of the Year Yvette Jackson and Mattoon (Ill.) Area Player of the Year Kara Donnell.

Joining Jackson and Donnell next season in a Dolphin uniform are junior college transfers Veronique McMillan, Elizabeth Simmons and Aisha Stewart along with freshmen Gemma McInally and Lauren Woodman.

"We knew going into the recruiting process that we needed to get players who could contribute right away," Taketa said. "We feel that this class not only provides us with players who can start for us from day one, but also the type of quality depth you need to compete for a conference championship."

Jackson, a native of Sarasota, Fla. and sister of former University of South Florida standout Altron Jackson, earned Florida 6A after leading the Riverview High School in scoring with 16.9 points per game. She finished her prep career the all-time leading scorer for the Lady Rams, and was ranked as the 19th best college prospect by Florida News. Jackson finished fourth in the 2001 Dairy Farmers' Ms. Basketball voting and was selected to play in the FACA All-Star Game for the South squad.

Donnell, meanwhile, comes to JU after scoring 1,074 points and averaging 12.3 points per game in a three-year high school career at Mattoon where she earned consecutive Journal Gazette/Time-Courrier Player-of-the-Year honors as a junior and senior. Niece of former JU standout and Boston Celtic draftee Rex Morgan, Donnell earned first-team All-Decatur, Champaign Gazette Honorable Mention All-State and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-State recognition as a senior after averaging 12.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

McMillan, a 6-1 junior from Los Angeles, Calif., will provide the Dolphins with a big body inside to complement 2001 first-team All-TAAC post player Kat Sungy. Last season, McMillan led Garden City (Kansas) Community College in scoring (11.7 ppg), shooting percentage (.498 on 134-of-269 shooting) and total rebounds (201) while finishing second on the club in free throw percentage (.674 on 95-of-141 shooting) and third in rebounds per game (6.3).

Simmons, a native of O'Fallon, Ill., and two-year starter at Southwest Illinois College, helped her junior college team to a combine 54-15 record, including the No. 2 ranking in all of the NJCAA as a freshman during the 1999-2000 season. Last season, Simmons averaged 7.8 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game while connecting on 42 percent of her shots from the field and 33 percent of her attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.

Rounding out the junior college transfers is Stewart, a 5-10 small forward from Independence (Kan.) Community College. Stewart, a native of Topeka, Kan., averaged 10 points and 2.0 rebounds a game while connecting on 42 percent of her 3-point shots. She helped the Lady Pirates to a 31-2 record last season, including a 15-0 record in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, an Eastern Division Championship and a No. 5 national ranking in the final NJCAA Polls.

Joining Donnell as members of the 2001-02 freshman class is McInnally, a native of Newcastle upon Tyne, England who spent last season playing for Tyne and Wear club team of the Women's Division II National League and Newcastle College of the Durham Basketball Association's Women's Division. During the 2000-01 season, McInally averaged 11 points, 4.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game while connecting on 90 percent of her free throws for Tyne and Wear while averaging 21.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 4.0 steals for Newcastle.

Rounding out the freshmen signees is Woodman, a forward from Port Moody, British Columbia. As a senior, Woodman earned second-team All-Star honors after helping Port Moody Secondary to a Provincial top-5 ranking as a junior when she earned All-British Columbia, BC Championship Player of the Game and adidas Best of the West Invitational All-Star honors.

The seven newcomers join Dee Cummings, who transferred to JU from Providence College in January, as new faces on the sideline next season as the Dolphins begin their third season of intercollegiate play.