MONTICELLO — Arkansas-Monticello women’s basketball coach Tanya Ray has announced the signing of seven student-athletes that will be joining the program for the 2013-14 season.
The seven signees include five transfers and two true freshmen. Tamia Grady, Brandae Carroll, Monique Biggins, Crystal Reed and Tori Nichols are all set to join the team with collegiate playing experience. Vivianna Carter and Poohnu Perry come to UAM after completing their prep careers.
“I am thrilled to add these young ladies to our program,” said Ray. “Not only are they fine players, but they have been a joy to get to know during the recruiting process. Adding them to our group of returners will give us a good foundation for the future. They are all excited about coming to UAM and look forward to building something special.”
Tamia Grady (5-5, Guard) comes to UAM from Holmes Community College, where she led the team in scoring at an average of 16 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the field. The Little Rock native also averaged 3.5 rebounds and three assists per game. She was a first team All-MACJC selection and earned first team NJCAA All-Region honors as afreshman.
“Tamia will be a much needed addition to our program as she gives us another option at the point guard position,” said Ray. “Tamia has the ability to get to the rim and has the ability to shoot the pull-up jumper which is hard to defend. She gained a lot of experience playing as a freshman at Holmes and we are fortunate to have her for the next three years.”
Brandae Carroll (6-0, Forward) is transferring from Neosho County Community College in Kansas. In her one season at Neosho, she averaged seven points and 5.5 rebounds per game. The Jeanerette, La. native scored a career-high 18 points twice and reached double-digits in scoring six times throughout the season.
“Brandae is a very good face-up post player,” said Ray. “She has a quick first step, and is a great athlete. She can also take her game to the perimeter, which is a plus in our offense. She only has one year of college basketballunder her belt, so her best basketball is ahead of her.”
Vivianna Carter (6-0, Forward) comes to UAM from North Technical High School in St. Louis, where she lead her team to a 20-10 record, a district title and the school’s first ever Missouri Class 3A Final Four appearance. She averaged 16 points, 7.5 rebounds and two steals per game. In addition to her basketball accolades, she also placed second in the state triple jump this past year.
“Vivianna is another player that has the ability to play both inside and on the perimeter for us,” said Ray. “She runs the floor extremely well and has a knack for scoring the ball.”
Alytrius “Poohnu” Perry (5-7, Guard) joins the team from Marked Tree High School, where she guided her team to a 22-7 record and a regional tournament appearance. At Marked Tree, she was two-time all-state honoree, averaging 17.5 points, five assists, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game.
“Poohnu gives us a true combo guard in that she can play both the point guard and shooting guard positions,” said Ray. “She is such a smooth player and when you watch her, things look effortless. She is very efficient and savvy whengetting to the rim, but you must also respect her ability to knock down thethree-pointer and jump shot.”
Monique Biggins (5-8, Forward) comes to UAM from Northwest Mississippi Community College, where she averaged 10 points and seven rebounds per game during the 2012-13 season. As a freshman, she averaged a double-double of 11.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. She led Northwest to a 18-7 record and a MACJC North Division Championship. The Horn Lake, Miss. native was selected to the Region 23 All-Tournament Team and was also selected to participate in the MACJC All-Star game.
“Monique is what I would call a utility player,” said Ray. “Those type of players add value to a program. She is athletic and can guard almost every position on the floor. Monique is the type of player that will do whatever you ask of her. Whether it’s scoring 15 points, grabbing 10 rebounds or locking down the opponent’s best player, she’s up for the challenge. She just finds a way to get it done on the court.”
Crystal Reed (6-6, Center) comes back to southeast Arkansas from Darton State College in Georgia, where she helped lead the team to a 30-4 overall record a Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association championship. The Monticello native and the Lady Cavaliers also qualified for the NJCAA national championship tournament this past season, which was the program’s first such appearance in more than a decade. As a sophomore this past season, she averaged 5.5 points, five rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game for a Darton team that allowed just 48.5 points per outing.
“Crystal will give us a big target on the block offensively and a different dimension that we’ve not had on the defensive end,” said Ray. “She takes up a lot of space with her size and does a great job of disrupting things for opponents in the paint. Crystal has the ability to be a momentum changer for us on both ends of the court.”
Tori Nichols (6-3, Center) is transferring from Great American Conference rival Southern Arkansas, where she was the Lady Muleriders’ second leading scorer at nine points per game, while leading the squad with an average of 7.8 rebounds per game during her freshman campaign in Magnolia. The Houston, Miss. native was the second leading freshman scorer behind current roster member and last year’s GAC freshman of the year Jordan Goforth. Nichols led all freshman in the GAC in rebounding.
“Tori brings welcomed experience in the post and her familiarity with this league is a plus,” said Ray. “Tori had a very good individual year at SAU and has proven she can compete at this level. I am very excited about what she will be able to do for us in the future.