The Stanford women's basketball team has yet to play an official game, but the season already is off to a good start after the Cardinal enjoyed a successful opening day of the fall signing period as head coach Tara VanDerveer announced the signing of six talented preps to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.
Jasmine Camp (Ellenwood, Ga./Chamblee HS), Alex Green (Dallas, Texas/Bishop Lynch HS), Taylor Greenfield (Huxley, Iowa/Ballard Community HS), Amber Orrange (Houston, Texas/Westbury Christian HS), Erica Payne (Concord, Calif./Carondelet HS) and Bonnie Samuelson (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison HS) will join the Stanford women's basketball team for the 2011-12 season.
"We are very excited about the class we have coming to Stanford next fall," VanDerveer said in a release. "This recruiting class addresses very important needs for our team next season, namely athleticism and three-point shooting. These are complete and talented basketball players who want to play with and against the best."
"When you have this caliber of players available, it makes us really, really fortunate to be able to bring them to Stanford. They will give us a whole different look," VanDerveer added.
Among the guards coming to The Farm next season is Orrange, a 5-7 do-it-all point guard out of Houston's Westbury Christian High School. Last year Orrange led her squad to a 33-8 record while averaging 16.0 points, 7.0 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game. Her 657 points on the year played a key role in leading Westbury Christian to the TAPPS 4A state title last season, and has the Lady Wildcats in position as the favorite to repeat in 2010-11.
"Amber is really quick, both her and Jasmine are very athletic and are creators," said VanDerveer. "Amber is a very good three-point shooter and she, along with Jasmine and Alex, will make our team much quicker and more aggressive."
Camp, a 5-7 guard, brings speed and strong defensive talent to The Farm next season. Named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's All-Metro (DeKalb) First Team as a junior last season, Camp averaged 13.8 points and 3.8 assists per game. In 2009, Camp was part of USA Basketball's Women's U16 National Team Trials Roster that trained ahead of the very first FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
"The No. 1 need we had with this class was at point guard, and we are very excited about Jasmine," VanDerveer said. "She is a great leader, very vocal, very accurate and a defensive point guard."
Another guard in Stanford's recruiting class is Dallas, Texas native Alex Green. The 5-9 Green is another speedster out of the backcourt, able to play both guard positions and last year led her Bishop Lynch squad to a 31-8 record and a ninth consecutive TAPPS 5A state title. Green, who scored 13 points in the state final, averaged 13.0 points and 2.8 assists per game last season and in 2010-11 will attempt to go 4-for-4 in winning state titles at Bishop Lynch.
"The coaching staff feels that Alex Green is a totally under-the-radar talent," VanDerveer noted. "She has attended our camps for the past two years, and Alex impressed us with how extremely athletic, quick and strong she is."
Out on the wing, the 6-3 Greenfield will bring an aggressive, all-around dynamic to the Cardinal roster. A trials roster member of USA Basketball's U16 and U17 Nationals Teams, Greenfield led her Ballard Community team to a Class 3A state title in 2008-09 after averaging 12.7 points a game while shooting 53.9 percent from the field and 42.5 percent on three-point attempts. Last season, although the team's run for a second straight state title ended in the tournament semifinals, Greenfield starred once again, averaging 19.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game en route to being named the Ames Tribune's Mid-Iowa girls basketball player of the year.
"Taylor fits into that point-forward mold for us," VanDerveer said. "She has great court sense, and is very talented as both a shooter and as a passer. She is a great talent for our team."
The 6-2 Payne, a product of Carondelet High School, the same school that produced two-time All-American Jayne Appel, will help make Stanford's posts some of the most athletic and agile in the country. Payne has the ability to run the perimeter as a wing or play down low in the box, and those talents showed as she has helped lead Carondelet to the CIF Division II state title game in each of the past two seasons. In 2009-10, Payne averaged 15.0 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game en route to leading the Cougars to the being named the San Francisco Chronicle's Contra Costa/Tri-Valley Player of the Year.
"Erica is very aggressive," VanDerveer said about the local product. "We love how well she rebounds and defends, and she is an excellent passer, as well."
Rounding out the Cardinal's six-player class is 6-2 wing and scoring and rebounding machine Bonnie Samuelson. A two-time invitee to USA Basketball national team trials (U16 and U17), Samuelson averaged an eye-popping 27.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game as a junior at Edison High School last year, earning spots on the All-CIF Southern Section Division II First Team and the Los Angeles Times' All-Southland Team. Samuelson's scoring tears helped lead the Chargers to the Southern Section Division II finals last season.
"Bonnie was our first commit in this class, and is a special player," VanDerveer commented. "She is an excellent three-point shooter and gives us a great amount of depth at the wing. Along with the rest of this class, Bonnie fits really well with our team and helps us address the needs we will have considering what we lose after the 2009-10 season."
Nationally No. 2 Stanford begins the road to a fourth straight Final Four this Sunday, hosting Rutgers in a 2 p.m. clash.