Nov. 20, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team has signed three high school seniors to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period, head coach Mark French announced last week.
High school seniors Ashlee Brown, a 6'0" forward from Good Year, Ariz., a 5'11" guard Courtney Collishaw of Visalia, Calif., and Margaret Johnson, a 5'11" forward from Lake Oswego, Ore. will join the Gauchos next season as true freshmen.
"With these three athletes, we really serviced the needs we had as a basketball team," French said. "We needed to get a big inside presence, an outside shooter, and someone that does all of the intangibles on the court and we feel like we've accomplished that. In addition to being tremendous student-athletes, all three of these kids should be very good UC students, as well, and that's what you want to find in your athletes."
Brown is entering her senior season at Chandler High School in Chandler, Ariz., where the Lady Wolves won the 2006 Fiesta Region title and made a third consecutive appearance at the Arizona state championships. Brown was named to the 2005-06 Arizona Tribune First Team and garnered First Team All-Fiesta Region accolades after averaging 21 points, 16 rebounds, five steals, four assists, and three blocked shots per game as a junior. As a sophomore, she was a second-team all-region honoree and was named the Rookie and Player of the year as a freshman after leading the team in scoring, rebounding, and three point shooting.
"Ashlee is a real blue-collar type of kid and is a big, strong, athletic power forward," French stated. "She certainly has the ability to move out and play on the perimeter and shoot the ball, but what we need her to do is be a solid offensive player and defend well at the four spot. She is very vocal and we are very excited because she has the chance to be a real team leader down the road."
Collishaw signs with UCSB after earning Cal-Hi Sports All-State Junior Second Team honors. She was named to the CIF Central Section First Team after leading Redwood High School in scoring at 22.6 points per game and enters her senior season with the Rangers after garnering Tulare County Player of the Year and Fresno Bee All-Area First Team honors. Collishaw also competes for the Central Valley Elite Club and she had outstanding showings at at End of the Trail in Oregon City and the Nike Summer Showcase in Chicago. A pure shooter, she most likely got her touch from her father, who played collegiately at Colgate.
"Courtney is definitely a big time shooter, French said. "She'll come in and make a difference as a two guard for us because she has the ability to penetrate very well and is fearless in taking the ball to the basket in addition to being a very, very good shooter from the perimeter."
Johnson enters her final season at Lake Oswego High School in Lake Oswego, Ore. having guided the team to a second place league finish in 2006 at 10-4 and an 18-8 overall record.
"Margaret is a very versatile player that will be able to play both inside and out for us next year," commented French. "She's an outstanding skill player on the perimeter, a tough, hard-nosed kid, with great speed and has a great high school background coming out of Lake Oswego. She is a the type of competitor we love to have at UCSB."
In 2007-08 UCSB will also gain the services of 5'10" guard Lauren Pedersen, a junior transfer from UCLA. A native of Brea, Calif., she played two seasons with the Bruins, averaging 2.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 54 career games while making 11 starts during that span. Pedersen will have two years of eligibility at UCSB starting next season.
The 11-time defending Big West Conference champion Gauchos (1-2) host Louisville this Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.