Nov. 17, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team has signed a pair of high school seniors to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period, head coach Mark French announced Friday.
Emilie Johnson, a 5'6" point guard from Roseville, Calif. and Megan Kritscher, a 6'3" forward from Woodland, Calif. will join the Gauchos for the 2008-09 season as true freshmen.
"We went out and got two players that will fulfill needs for us," French said. "Both Emilie and Megan will fit really well into what we have been doing on the offensive and defensive side of the floor. They are both solid, well-rounded kids and they have all the tools to become excellent student-athletes at UCSB."
Johnson is entering her senior season at Del Oro High School in Roseville, where she was named the 2006-07 Sierra Foothill League MVP after averaging 15.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 3.2 steals, while shooting 43% from the field as a junior last season. The only junior to earn a spot on last year's Sacramento Bee All-Metro First Team, Johnson led the Golden Eagles to 26-2 record and a third consecutive SFL championship a year ago. Johnson is a three-time all-league selection and was named the Sonora Kiwanis Tournament MVP as a sophomore in 2006.
"Emilie reminds me a lot of coach Foster (former Gaucho point guard April McDivitt)," French stated. "She is a true floor general, has a lot of strong leadership qualities, and plays with an unbelievable passion for the game. We needed to recruit a great passing guard and Emilie will give us that."
The first player in program history to be offered a scholarship prior to her junior year, Johnson will benefit from playing behind two senior point guards in Lauren Pedersen and Sha'Rae Gibbons next season. An excellent passer into the post, Johnson is also good at running the fastbreak and is expected to be a great fit from the start.
Kritscher signs with UCSB after averaging 12.6 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 5.5 blocked shots per game as a junior at Pioneer High School last season. An All-Tri-County League selection, Kritscher scored a career-best 22 points while hauling in 11 rebounds and blocking three shots to lead the Patriots to a 44-30 victory over rival Woodland High School last and recorded a career-high 10 blocks in a game against Inderkum.
"Megan is extremely versatile and can play at either the power forward or the post." French said. "She has great size, great inside scoring ability, and shoots really well from 15-16 feet. She can play inside and out and will be an outstanding addition for us."
A talented player with good hands and excellent footwork, Kritscher is expected to contribute right away with the graduation of Jenna Green at the conclusion of this season. She runs the floor well and has great ball handling skills for a player her size.
After signing Johnson and Kritscher, UCSB will still have two full scholarships left for the 2008-09 season. French said the team is looking to recruit a junior college post player and a one or another 2-3 combo guard.
The 11-time Big West Conference champion Gauchos (1-1) take on 14th-ranked Arizona State Saturday at 3:00 p.m. PT.