HONOLULU—(Hawaii Athletics) University of Hawai'i women's basketball head coach Laura Beemanannounced the signing of the final two players of her inaugural recruiting class. Freshmen Marissa Wimbley and Brianna Higgins have both signed to play for the Rainbow Wahine in 2012-13. This brings the total number of newcomers to seven (four freshmen and three transfers) who will join six returnees and two redshirts this winter.
Higgins is a 6-1 post player who earned four varsity letters in basketball at Foothill High School in Henderson, Nev. She was voted first team all-conference in 2010 and 2012 and was tabbed second team all-state as a senior. Last year, Higgins averaged 13.7 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for the Eagles. She was selected as the Most Valuable Player for her high school team as a sophomore and served as the captain for three seasons. Higgins helped lead Foothill to its first ever appearance in the state tournament as a senior and she is the first women's basketball player from Foothills to play at the Division I level. She graduated with an advanced honors diploma with high honors in the top 25% of the senior class.
"Brianna is going to bring a high level of work ethic to our post game that will be a huge asset to the team," says Beeman. "She has the ability to post up bigger players and score, and can take advantage of mismatches in the paint which will complement our style of play."
Last season as a high school senior, Wimbley—a 5-6 point guard—helped lead Pleasant Grove High School to a 9-1 conference record and an overall mark of 22-10 averaging 14.8 points, 3.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.3 steals per game en route to the Eagles' second conference title in three seasons. The Elk Grove, Calif. native earned four varsity letters in basketball and was recognized with several accolades on the court, including being named Pleasant Grove High School's Female Athlete of the Year; conference player of the year; Sacramento Area All-Metro first team; Optimist All-Star South first team; and was selected to the CA1-Hi Sports All-State DI team. Wimbley also excelled in the classroom, receiving the academic scholar-athlete award and patch for both 2010-11 and 2011-12 as well as the school's "Eagle Award" which recognizes the top 15 students in the senior class.
"Marissa is going to give us added depth at point guard," says Beeman. "She has the ability to defend 94 feet and she can get to the basket when the opportunity presents itself. Marissa has a great work ethic and will push her teammates on a daily basis."
Hawai'i opens the 2012-13 season on October 26 in an exhibition game against UH-Hilo at the Stan Sheriff Center before opening the season on the road at San Francisco on November 9. The 'Bows will then return home to host the first of three tournaments, the Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Classic with Tennessee-Martin, Stanford and defending NCAA Champion, Baylor (Nov. 16-18).
Monica DeAngelis (5-7 • Point Guard/Guard • Senior • Santa Monica, Calif. • Loyola Marymount)
Brianna Higgins (6-1 • Post • Freshman • Henderson, Nev. • Foothill HS)
Pua Kailiawa (6-2 • Post • Junior • Pahala, Hawai'i • Umpqua Community College)
Destiny King (5-10 • Guard/Forward • Freshman • Long Beach, Calif. • Long Beach Polytechnic HS)
Diane Moore (5-10 • Guard/Forward • Junior • Pleasant Hill, Calif • Diablo Valley College)
Morgan Roberts (5-9 • Guard • Freshman • Auckland, New Zealand • Mount Albert Grammar School)
Marissa Wimbley (5-6 • Point Guard • Freshman • Elk Grove, Calif. • Pleasant Grove HS)