The 2013-14 edition of the Toledo Rockets Women's Basketball team is going to include quite a number of new faces. With five seniors graduating and an entire recruiting class lost to transfers there are plenty of minutes up for grabs. Here's a look at each of next season’s new faces, five freshmen and one transfer, with quick thoughts on each from Toledo’s Head Coach Tricia Cullop.
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5’ 10”, Guard
University of Michigan/Marion Harding, Ohio
Brenae Harris, who will have to sit out the 2013-14 season as a transfer, was a prolific scorer during her high school years at Marion Harding. During her senior season she averaged 21.9 points per game and finished her high school career with a number of accolades before going to the University of Michigan.
At Michigan, Harris saw limited minutes her freshman season with averages of 2.0 points per game in 8.7 minutes of action. She started six games last year as a sophomore but eventually returned to a reserve role and ended the campaign with averages of 2.8 points and 12 minutes played through 32 games.
"Brenae Harris is a transfer guard from the University of Michigan who will sit out this upcoming year. We gladly welcome her veteran experience playing at a high level. I love her competitiveness, ability to score and defend."
- Michigan guard Brenae Harris decides to transfer to Toledo
- Onward and upward, Harding graduate Harris taking career to University of Toledo
Elena de Alfredo
5' 7", Guard
ASEFA Estudiantes, Madrid
Elena de Alfredo, the smallest of the 2013 recruits, is also one of the most intriguing. She averaged 11.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for her club team last season. Her standout shooting statistics are in two areas last year's Toledo team struggled with: the three pointer (41.8%, 33 of 79) and free throws (82.1%, 32 of 39).
She also played for the U18 Spanish National Team and put up similar statistical averages to her club appearances.
Elena helps fill a hole at point guard for the Rockets after the 2013 season. Next year's team will feature two seniors at the position, Andola Dortch and Janelle Reed-Lewis, but after those two graduate point guard duties will fall to de Alfredo and Brenae Harris.
"Elena De Alfredo has deep three point range and is capable of playing the point or shooting guard position. Elena handles the ball well and has great court vision and passing skills."
- LF2: Elena de Alfredo: “La LF2 te hace aprender más de baloncesto” [Absolutely Horrible Google Translate Version]
- U18 European Championship Profile
5' 11", Guard
Warsaw Community High School, Indiana
Lindsay Baker is a sharp shooting guard from Indiana who led her high school team, the Warsaw Tigers, in three pointers during her senior season on 51 of 161 shooting for 31.7%. She finished the year with averages of 11.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. In addition to leading her team in made three pointers, she also had team highs in assists (77) and steals (53).
Baker ended her senior year as an Honorable Mention in the Associated Press Indiana All-State list. She was a First Team, Academic All-State selection and a Honorable Mention, Senior All-State pick by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
Warsaw, ranked #8 in Indiana, lost in the state semifinals and finished the year with a 24-2 record.
"Lindsay Baker is a pure shooter. She has a great basketball IQ and is very fundamentally sound. We look for Lindsay to help us extend defenses this next year with her deep range and accuracy."
- Lindsay Baker: Outstanding Student Athlete
- Warsaw star credits AAU ball
- Warsaw's Baker Inks With Toledo Hoops
6' 0", Forward
Newham Stars Club Team
Janice Monakana, the second of two international recruits for 2013, hails from London, England. Monakana was a very busy basketball player with roster spots on her school's squad, a club team and England's National Team.
For Haringey, Monakana averaged 29.0 points per game last year. Her numbers for the Newham Stars, while not quite as gaudy, are still very solid: 17.1 points per game and 8.8 rebounds. At the 2012 U18 FIBA European Division B Championship, Janice posted 6.1 point and 4.7 rebound averages in seven games.
"Janice Monakana has great quickness and ability to drive to the basket as well as knock down a three. Her quickness, size and length will help our team defend anything from the point to the power forward."
6' 1", Forward
Racine St. Catherine's High School, Wisconsin
Olivia Braun posted impressive numbers for her Racine team with 14.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 3.3 blocks per game. She shot a crisp 57% from the floor including 42.1% from the three point line (on a limited 24 for 57 attempts) and 70.1% from the charity stripe.
Braun played guard for her high school team but one would speculate, at her height, she would make a nice replacement for either of the outgoing senior forwards if she can handle a positional shift to the post.
Braun was named to the WBCA Division 3 All-State team her senior season. She was picked for Third-Team Associated Press All-State and First-Team Metro Classic Conference.
"Olivia Braun is a versatile player who is capable of playing three different positions. She can shoot beyond the arc, sees the court well and can guard multiple positions with her length. She also recorded a triple-double this past high school season."
6' 3", Forward
Byron High School, Illinois
Sophie Reecher, the tallest recruit from Toledo's 2013-14 class, will help fill a desperate need for depth at the center position. Aside from Brianna Jones, who will be a senior next year, the Rockets depth chart sorely lacks for quality post players.
Reecher put up pretty nice numbers her senior season. She averaged 13.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. She also blocked a total of 61 shots by year's end.
The Byron Tigers finished last season with a school record 31 wins and a state supersectionals appearance. Reecher was named Associated Press First-Team All State in Illinois Class 2A.
"Sophie Reecher is a 6’3” post who runs the floor well, has soft touch around the basket as well as 15 foot range. She is a great high/low passer and gifted shot blocker."
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With this class Toledo continues their recent trend of looking for quality players overseas while at the same time addressing needs in the front court and finding high percentage shooters with range.
On paper these six players seem to address those needs moving forward but only time will tell. Coach Cullop says she anticipates each of the five freshmen will come in and challenge for significant playing time from day one.
My thanks to Head Coach Tricia Cullop for taking the time to offer her insight into these new Toledo players.