April 15, 2009
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona women's basketball team has announced the signing of junior college standouts Jennifer Kioa and Amanda Pierson to a national letter of intent, released on Wednesday morning by head coach Niya Butts.
Kioa, a 6'4" post player from Foothill Community College in Los Altos Hills, Calif., was the California Community College Co-Player of the Year this season after averaging 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for head coach Jody Craig and the Owls. A criminal justice major originally from Sequoia, she was also chosen a NJCAA All-American as the Owls advanced to the California Community College state quarterfinals.
"Jennifer was a game-changer on both ends of the floor in that she commanded a double-team on the offensive end, then would alter and change so many shots on the defensive end," said Craig. "She should be able to carry those things over to the next level because of her length and versatility. Jennifer will be asked to play at a very high level, but I don't think she has reached her potential and there is a lot more there to tap into."
Pierson, one inch shorter than her new teammate, played the last two seasons at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas. She was an honorable mention selection to the NJCAA All-Region VI squad after tallying averages of 12 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots. A nutrition major with a 3.4 GPA, Pierson was a 2nd-team all-Jayhawk West Conference pick as she shot 90 percent from the free throw line.
"Amanda is a legitimate post player with good size and will provide an inside presence on both ends of the floor," said Seward County head coach Toby Wynn. "She is a good finisher around the basket, but also is a good screener and will help open up other players on the offensive end. Amanda brings a winning mentality and understands the work that must be put in to become a winning program."
"We are all really excited about the kids that we are adding during the late signing period," said Butts, who has now signed five players since taking over as head coach last April. "They each bring something different to the table and those attributes should help us this season both in the non-conference and Pac-10 portions of our schedule."
Kioa was ranked the #7 post player in all of community college basketball this season by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and #26 overall while Pierson was tabbed the 9th-best post player and #32 overall by the same publication.
The two newest players to commit to Arizona will join November signees Davellyn Whyte and Brooke Jackson. Whyte was named the Gatorade Arizona Player of the Year after leading St. Mary's High School to the state championship game while Jackson, the ACCAC Player of the Year at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, was recently named a NJCAA Division II 1st-team all-American after averaging 16.2 points and connecting on 53 percent of her three-point attempts.
Arizona returns four players, including all-American Ify Ibekwe, from its 2008-09 team that posted a 12-19 record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. Also returning the to the fold for the Wildcats will be redshirt sophomore Tasha Dickey, who sat out the season after having surgery on her right leg.