JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 26, 2009) - The ETSU women's basketball team continued adding depth to its program on Tuesday afternoon, as head coach Karen Kemp and her staff announced Ashley Benedict (Rome, Ohio), Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.), and Santana Morrison (Statesville, N.C.) have signed to play with the Lady Bucs starting this 2009-10 season.
Benedict, a 6-3 post from Hathaway Brown, brings a winning attitude to Johnson City, as she helped guide the Blazers to a state championship title in 2009. The Rome, Ohio native played two seasons at Jefferson Area High School and her junior and senior year at Hathaway Brown. Benedict, a nationally ranked post player announced by ESPN, is also an Adidas All-American and posted a stellar performance at the Senior All-Star Game by recording 19 points and 10 rebounds. The standout post player was apart of the successful AAU team - Next Level (Cleveland) - who took third at the 2008 Nationals Classic Division. In addition, Benedict was also named to the Adidas Class of 2009 Super 64.
"Ashley is a true center and will give us much needed depth at the post position," said Kemp. "She has a great work ethic and we expect her step in and contribute right away."
Gordon comes to Johnson City after playing her first two seasons at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan. The 5-5 point guard played two seasons under Emily Washburn and was named Second Team All-Conference (KJCCC) in both basketball and soccer. Gordon averaged 11.5 points per game and led the Ravens with 146 assists (4.6 per game) and 52 steals (1.6 per game). Gordon also scored double figures in 21 of the 32 games and dished out five or more assists 13 times in 2008-09 - including a season-high 13 against Independence on Jan. 21. Like Benedict, Gordon also brings a winning tradition to ETSU, as she helped guide Coffeyville to consecutive conference championships - which is also the same league current Lady Buccaneer Shannon White (Kansas City, Kan.) played in at Cloud County.
"We are excited to have Tarita come play for us at ETSU," commented Kemp. "She is a true point guard with junior college experience and is an extremely skilled athlete."
Rounding out the recruiting class is 5-9 forward Santana Morrison. Morrison played three seasons at North Iredell and concluded play at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy in 2008-09. After averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds her junior year, Morrison posted 16.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.6 steals with the Phoenix. The Statesville, N.C. native scored double figures in all but one of the 25 games played this past year - including a season-best 30 points in the win over Cherokee back on Jan. 10. Morrison also recorded a 27-point, 11-steal effort and 12-point, 13-rebound game during her senior year as well.
"Santana is an incredibly strong player and will see most of her time at the three," Kemp said. "She can either beat a defender with her inside post moves or by using her quick first step to drive to the basket."
These three standout signees cap off a loaded recruiting class which includes Iesha Robinson (Martinsburg, W. Va.), Johneshia Good (Johnson City), and Ashley Crider (Orlando, Fla.).
"This recruiting class has potential to be one of the best to play at ETSU," said Kemp. "All six of these student-athletes can make an immediate impact and we hope they help us win more championships."
For more information on Lady Buccaneer basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.