Sports

Fearsome foursome signs with Cardinal women's basketball

 

Stanford's Director of Women's Basketball Tara VanDerveer announced the signings of four of North America's best players to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.

Maya Dodson, Alyssa Jerome, Estella Moschkau and Kiana Williams will join the Cardinal for the 2017-18 academic school year.

Stanford's four-member recruiting haul is one of the nation's strongest, collectively rated No. 2 by espnW HoopGurlz and No.6 by Prospects Nation.

"We are absolutely thrilled," VanDerveer said. "We're not just signing a class of talented players, but we are really excited about the character of the people. They're winners in all aspects, including in the classroom and on the court. They're very humble and hard-working and that's what we need. We need them to come in and contribute and we are confident that they will."

The four are impressive additions to a program which has won a pair of national championships, been to 29 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, advanced to the Elite Eight in 10 of the past 13 seasons, won at least 25 games for 15 straight years and claimed a combined 34 Pac-12 regular season and conference championships.

"Stanford is beautiful and the academic experience is unmatched," VanDerveer added. "Those are things they can learn about, but [when they were here they could feel it. They want to be teammates with our freshmen, sophomores and juniors and the seniors showed just how much they love this university. [Our current players showed that they want to be a great team and they understand that to be a great team you must have great teammates."

Dodson, a 6-foot-3 wing, is a five-star talent and the No. 11 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100. A back-to-back state title winner at St. Francis High School in Alpharetta, Ga., Dodson averaged 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks per game as a junior and was named Georgia's Class A player of the year.

This past summer, she won a bronze medal with Team USA at the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women in Zaragoza, Spain, making the 12-person roster out of a pool of 139 trial invitees. Dodson started all seven games and averaged 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds, including scoring 12 and adding seven boards in the team's 65-50 win over China to secure third place.

"I fell in love with Stanford because it will allow me to pursue my academic and athletic passions," Dodson said of her decision. "I wanted a school where I would fit in, be challenged and grow. I hope to learn new things, be open to anything and set goals to be successful. In terms of basketball, I know I want to try to win a championship. I think Stanford has the right coaching staff and players to do it."

Two years after signing the program's first international prospect in Alanna Smith and one year after inking its first Canadian in Mikaela Brewer, VanDerveer has looked north again and added a standout performer on the international stage in Alyssa Jerome. The 6-foot-1 veteran of Canada Basketball from Toronto represented her country this summer at the both the aforementioned FIBA U17 World Championships in Spain and the FIBA Americas U18 Championships in Valdivia, Chile.

Canada finished seventh at the U17 World Championships, which ran from late June to early July, and the 16-year old Jerome averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in six games.

Less than two weeks later she was in Chile playing alongside Brewer at U18 FIBA Americas and helped Canada win silver to secure a spot in the 2017 U19 FIBA World Championships. Jerome averaged 15.8 points on 48.5 percent shooting, 9.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. She finished third in the tournament in points, seventh in field goal percentage, third in rebounds and second in double-doubles (3).

In the summer of 2015, Jerome was MVP of the FIBA Americas U16 Championships in Puebla, Mexico after averaging a near tournament double-double of 13.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. She went for 17 and 12 in the final against Brazil, a 72-71 overtime win.

"This is such an amazing opportunity," Jerome said. "Stanford's combination of the world-class academics and outstanding athletics is unrivaled. There's a life after basketball and my parents have always told me that you have to go to a school at which you can make a career with your degree. Basketball is a part of it, but the academics were No. 1."

A five-star prospect rated the No. 44 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100, Moschkau was first team Associated Press all-state and first team Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 3 last season. The 6-foot-2 wing averaged 19.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.1 blocked shots, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior in leading Edgewood to the WIAA Division 3 state semifinals.

"I chose Stanford because I felt very connected with the coaches and players and was impressed with everything that the school offers," Moschkau explained. "There is a sense of excellence with everything Stanford does and I am so grateful and excited to be a part of the team and the university. I felt very much at home and at peace on campus. The coaches have a high level of basketball knowledge, experience and passion. I know I will grow as a player and person under their guidance."

A three-time Badger South Conference first-team selection, Moschkau earned unanimous honors each of the past two seasons. She also led Edgewood to a conference title and earned honorable mention all-area honors as a sophomore.

Kiana Williams, a 5-foot-7, five-star point guard from San Antonio, Texas, is the No. 8 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100 and Stanford's first top-10 recruit since Chiney Ogwumike signed as the top player in the country in Nov. 2009.

A dynamic leader with a powerful scoring punch, Williams averaged 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and 2.5 steals per game as a junior for Karen Wagner High School last season. She was a first-team all-state selection for the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches as well as the Texas Girls Coaches Association.

"I chose Stanford because I will experience the best of both worlds," Williams said of her decision. "Playing for a Hall of Fame coach while receiving a top-notch education was an absolute no brainer. I am extremely excited and thankful for this opportunity!"

Williams scored 21 in Karen Wagner's first game of the season on Monday night, a 62-38 win over O'Connor High School.

— Stanford Athletics

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