BATON ROUGE -- Head coach Van Chancellor has signed eight players to national letters of intent to play for the LSU women’s basketball program; it was announced on Wednesday, the first day of early signing period.
The class, one of the top three in the country according to many recruiting publications, is made up of seven high school players and one junior college player.
LaSondra Barrett, a 6-2 forward from Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss.; Ayana Dunning, a 6-3 post from Eastmoor High School in Columbus, Ohio; Destini Hughes, a 5-10 guard from Kennedale High School in Ft. worth, Texas; Taylor Turnbow, a 6-2 forward from Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Ga.; Crystal Riley, a 5-5 guard from Hillcrest High School in Memphis, Tenn.; Courtney Jones, a 6-2 forward from Midfield High School in Midfield, Ala.; Swayze Black, a 6-3 forward/center from Brookhaven High School in Brookhaven, Miss., and Erica Brown, a 5-10 guard from Tallahassee Community College and Dillard High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., complete the LSU signing class.
“It is unbelievable the job that our assistant coaches have done with recruiting this fall,” Chancellor said. “It was a great job done by Travis Mays, Yolanda Wells-Broughton and Bob Starkey. This class lets us continue the tradition of LSU women’s basketball. We are so excited about who we have signed.”
Barrett is a five-star player ranked No. 12 overall in the nation and is the No. 2 forward by Hoopgurlz.com. She averaged 16.6 points and 11.3 rebounds last season as a junior at William & Murrah High School and posted 18.0 points and 10.0 boards per game as a sophomore. Barrett has been selected to the Missisppi Dandy Dozen twice and is a two-time all-metro selection.
“Barrett comes to us after playing from one of the great coaches in the state of Mississippi,” Chancellor said. She is just a warrior that can play multiple positions. We will play her at the four and the three. She can rebound, she can shoot and she can score.”
Dunning is a five-star player ranked No. 14 overall in the nation by Hoopgurlz.com and is the No. 3 post player. Dunning, coached by Jim Miranda at Eastmoor Academy, averaged 19.8 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.8 steals and 3.2 blocks per game last season as a junior. She earned first-team all-state, all-district and all-city honors as a junior and was named the 2007 district Player of the Year. Dunning, who was also a first-team all-city and all-district as a sophomore, was invited to the Nike Skills Academy and the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival.
“Dunning is a rugged inside player that gives us some great post up moves,” Chancellor said.
Hughes is another five-star player ranked No. 17 overall in the nation by Hoopsgurlz.com and is the No. 2 point guard in the country. Hughes will be at Kenndale High School to play for her father Vance Hughes this year after transferring from Waxahachie High School where she helped guide her team to a 5A Texas State title as a sophomore. She averaged 20.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 4.7 steals last season as a junior to earn district MVP and first-team all-state. Hughes also earned third-team Sporting News All-American and was invited to the 2007 Nike Skills Academy.
“Hughes is a great combo guard,” Chancellor said. “She can play the point and play the two guard. Her dad is a coach so she has a great understanding and awareness of the game.”
Turnbow is ranked as the 55th best overall player in the country by Hoopgurlz.com and is No. 11 among forwards. She averaged 15.0 points and 10.0 rebounds as a junior at Stephenson High School and earned honorable mention All-American honors from Street & Smith’s. Turnbow transferring from Tucker High School were she posted 12.0 points and 10.0 rebounds as a sophomore.
“Turnbow out of Georgia is a player that will probably play the four and the five for us,” Chancellor said. “She is a strong player and has really improved her midrange jump shot.”
Riley is ranked 59th overall in the nation by Hoopgurlz.com and is the 11th best point guard. A three-time all-district, all-city and all-metro selection, Riley averaged 15.0 points and 5.0 assists per game for coach Reginald Jones at Hillcrest.
“Riley gives us great quickness. She is a guard that will be in the tradition of Erica White and Temeka Johnson,” Chancellor said. “She is someone that can score and get to the rack.”
Jones is the 69th best player in the nation by Hoopsgurlz.com and is ranked as the 16th best forward. She averaged 18.6 points and 14.3 rebounds per game as a junior on her way to being named the 4A Alabama Player of the Year. Jones also earned the state player of the year honors as a sophomore at Midfield High School.
“Jones is a tremendous athlete,” Chancellor said. “She can shoot and run and can defend.”
Black averaged 13.2 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game as a junior at Brookhaven High School on her way to all-state honors.
“Black has tremendous upside in her game,” Chancellor said. “She is 6-3 and can put both hands on the rim. She is a tremendous athlete with her best basketball in front of her.”
Brown, enters her second season at Tallahassee Community College where she has averaged 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. She was a first-team All-Panhandle Conference selection last season and was twice named FCCAA Player of the Week and earned NJCAA Player of the Week honors once.
“Brown will be a player that will give us some great help at the guard position and gives us good out shooting,” Chancellor added.