Sept. 4, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Seventh-year head coach Dave Magarity has announced the addition of eight newcomers to the Army women’s basketball roster with the 2012-13 season right around the corner. Representing seven different states, the freshman class is expected to make an immediate impact for a Black Knight squad which features a talented core of returners.
“On paper, this could be the strongest class we’ve ever recruited,” remarked Magarity. “We answered our needs for depth on the perimeter while solidifying our shooting. Our biggest challenge for the coaching staff will be how to implement them – how do we integrate them into the great nucleus we have coming back, which includes three All-Patriot League players.
“The level of talent we have returning, along with what we have brought in, makes for a great practice environment. There’s a tremendous amount of competition. We’ll see who will rise when the dust settles.”
One newcomer who will challenge for a starting spot right away is Kelsey Minato out of Huntington Beach, Calif. Minato, who competed in the talent-rich area of Orange County, had a remarkable four-year career for Huntington Beach High School. Setting the school records for career points, three-point field goals made and single-game threes, the all-state selection had her jersey retired following her notable senior season. Minato averaged 20.8 points per game, in addition to 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest. She led her team to its first state championship game in 34 years, while collecting a multitude of accolades in the process, including All-Sea View League, All-Sunset League and Scholar-Athlete certificates.
“Kelsey has a terrific skill set and brings an impressive feel for the game,” stated Magarity. “She has so much poise and has a chance to be a very special player.”
Also expected to compete for playing time immediately is versatile swing guard Jean Parker out of Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore. “Jean is a tough slasher and great ball handler who can do a lot of things, while easily playing three positions for us,” said Magarity. “She’s a solid rebounder and is a guard that can definitely post somebody up.”
Parker was a prominent member of Jesuit’s Oregon 6A State Championship squad (2011), while averaging 9.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as a senior in 2011-12. She collected a pair of all-metro honors during her final two seasons, while also earning praise in the classroom as a member of the National Honor Society and honor roll.
From the East Coast, Bridget Ryan of Scotch Plains, N.J., has been on Army’s radar for the past three years. Ryan, who played high school ball at Mount Saint Mary Academy before attending Blair Academy for a postgraduate year, was named the New Jersey State Prep Player of the Year a season ago. She collected all-conference and all-area accolades during her senior season, while repeating as an all-conference player at Blair.
“Bridget is a terrific all-around player,” said Magarity of his long-time recruit. “She is a great shooter with impressive size as a wing or swing guard. She is a very fundamentally sound player with outstanding potential.”
The Black Knights are expected to get a scoring a shot-blocking bump with the addition of Aimee Oertner of Slatington, Pa. Oertner, a two-time all-state selection out of Northern Lehigh High School, averaged a triple-double during her season (18.5 points, 14.8 rebounds, 10 blocks per contest) which included the top blocks-per-game average in the country. She established Northern Lehigh career standards in points, blocks, defensive rebounds, free-throw attempts and free-throws made, while also adding single-game records for blocked shots, rebounds and defensive rebounds.
“Aimee has a good feel for the game with great instincts,” noted Magarity. “She has tremendous upside at her position. She is as athletically talented as anyone that we’ve brought in and has a real knack for scoring and blocking shots.”
Another addition who will make it tough for the opposition’s offense is Brigette Ocran of Burtonsville, Md. “Brigette brings a toughness, a defensive mentality that will make an immediate impact,” said Magarity. “She can play on and off the ball and gives us great flexibility along the perimeter.”
Ocran is a second-team All-Gazette player out of Paint Branch High School who earned honorable mention accolades by the Washington Post. Heavily recruited out of the D.C., area, Ocran played AAU ball for the DC Heat under the direction of head coach Brian Wiley.
Army’s lone addition out of the U.S. Military Academy Prep School (USMAPS) is Ballston Lake, N.Y., native Allie Setter. Setter, who spent the past year recovering from surgery, played scholastically at Shenendehowa High School and was a three-time All-Surburban Council selection. Named the Section 2 Class AA MVP in 2010, Setter is chomping at the bit to return to the court after a year removed.
“Allie had a terrific high school career at Shenendehowa,” Magarity added. “She’s a very competitive young lady who is tough, plays hard and is a good rebounder. She’s one of those kids that plays bigger than her size.”
Another deep threat added to the fold is Lindsey Fenwick of Springfield, Ohio. Fenwick was a decorated three-sport athlete (basketball, soccer, softball) at Kenton Ridge High School, who averaged 15.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.3 assists per game on the hardwood as a senior. She is a two-time All-Central Buckeye Conference selection, as well as first team All-District 9 honoree.
“Lindsey is an athletic wing who has the ability to make deep shots,” said Magarity. “She adds depth to our shooting corps.”
Rounding out the newcomers is Brianna Johnson. Johnson, who is from Fontana, Calif., and played at Etiwanda High School, is a two-time all-league selection. Her class’ salutatorian, Johnson earned her team’s scholar-athlete award 2009-12.
“Brianna was a young lady we were very aware of on the recruiting trail,” said Magarity. “She’s very athletic and brings a lot of intangibles to the program. She’s high-energy and bright – getting into West Point on her own, and can certainly help our team.”
Magarity will look to his two captains to lead this young group of newcomers. Senior Liz Benedict was named the team’s captain in early May, while classmate Kimberlyn Martin’s increased leadership skills and maturity impressed Magarity over the summer, drawing him to name her the team’s other co-captain.
Benedict and Martin are joined by classmate Anna Simmers, who was the Patriot League’s top scorer in 2011-12. Other notable returns from last season’s squad include All-Rookie Team selection sophomore Olivia Schretzman and second team all-league member junior Jen Hazlett.
The Black Knights open their season on Nov. 9 at Wagner, while their first home contest is slated for Nov. 12 against St. Francis (N.Y.).