July 20, 2009

Seven new faces join Lady 'Canes in 2009-10

A Division I transfer, three junior college transfers and three freshmen complete roster

Georgia Southwestern State University head women's basketball coach Kelly Britsky has announced the signing of seven incoming players for the 2009-10 basketball season.

Transfers Jessica Bivins, Jalessa Octalien, Jonneshia Pineda and Kanita Holloway join freshmen Catharyn Clyde, Qouston Crawley and Amiri Williams to compose Britsky's recruiting class.

Bivins, a 5-foot-5 sophomore shooting guard from Orlando, Fla., comes to GSW from Stetson University. With the Hatters, a NCAA Division I program, she played in 26 games, started 13 contests, and averaged 7.1 points and two rebounds as a freshman. She posted a season-high 20 points against Belmont and added 13 point performances against Florida and Norfolk State.

Bivins was a third team All-State selection in Florida's highest classification (6A) as a senior at Edgewater High School.

"I expect Jessica to do exceptionally well in the Peach Belt Conference," Britsky said.  "She brings a tough mentality, a great work ethic, and a tremendous desire to be successful. Her ability to score and her experience makes her a fantastic pick up for the Hurricanes." 

Octalien, a junior post player, transfers to GSW from Rend Lake College (Ill.). The 6-foot-1 standout from Riverdale, Ga. averaged five points and five rebounds for the Lady Warriors last year. She played her prep ball at North Clayton High School.

"We are excited to bring Jalessa back to the Peach State to finish out her career," Britsky said. "I believe that Jalessa has not truly tapped into her full potential yet and we are excited to see what the second half of her college career will bring."

Pineda, a 5-foot-7 junior point guard from Smyrna, Ga., played last year at Pearl River Community College (Miss.) and averaged eight points and three rebounds per game.  Pineda was selected to the Mississippi Junior College All-Star Team. She played her prep ball at Campbell High School. 

"JP will be called on immediately to run the point this year and be an on the court leader," Britsky noted. "She has good court vision and is a threat to score. We are looking forward to getting her on the court this fall."

A 5-foot-9 shooting forward from Atlanta, Ga., Holloway played the last two years at Cleveland State Community College (Tenn.) and was a National Junior College Athletic Association All-Region selection. She averaged 11 points and five rebounds for the Lady Cougars last season. Holloway played her prep ball at North Atlanta High School.

"Kanita is a great addition to this year's team," said Britsky. "She can play the one through four positions if called upon to do so, but will see a great deal of time at the three and four positions this year. She is one of those players that will run through a brick wall for you, so we are excited to get her in a Hurricane uniform."

Clyde, a 5-foot-9 forward from Albany, Ga., was a second team All-Region 1-AA selection at Albany High School last season. An honor graduate, Clyde was the Lady Indians leading rebounder the past two years.

"Catharyn is a local player that will come on this year to add depth at the four spot," Britsky stated. "She has great leaping ability and the motivation to become a solid collegiate player. We will look for Catharyn to pound the boards down low and become a presence on the block."

Crawley, an Atlanta native, was a 2009 McDonald's All American nominee at Mays High School. The 5-foot-9 shooting forward averaged 14 points and seven rebounds last year.

"Q will be an exciting young player for the Hurricanes this year," Britsky said. "She has a great court presence and really knows the game. She will be looked to play at the three and four spot this year. If Q gets comfortable early she could really make some noise this season."

Williams, a 5-foot-8 guard, averaged 8.5 points and five rebounds per game at Central Gwinnett High School last year. An honor graduate from Lawrenceville, Ga., Williams was a member of the Gwinnett County All-Star Team.

"Amiri is an outstanding addition to the team this year," Britsky said. "She is a fantastic student and person along with being a good young talent on the court. Amiri is a kid that will do whatever you ask of her and with that determination she is going to come on in leaps and bounds this year."

GSW finished last season with an 8-19 record, a seven-win improvement from 2007-08.