FLORENCE – After signing two players in the early signing period last spring, the University of North Alabama women's basketball team has rounded out its 2014-15 roster with the addition of four newcomers. A trio of incoming freshmen will join a sophomore transfer.
Rachel Carter comes to UNA after playing one season at Trinity International in Deerfield, Ill. She averaged 3.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game with 22 blocked shots as a true freshman for the Lady Trojans. The 6-6 post player from Murfreesboro, Tenn., prepped at Franklin Road Christian School where she helped lead the team to the 2010 state championship. Carter was also an all-region selection as a senior and earned state all-tournament honors in 2010 and 2011. She finished her career averaging a double-double at 14 points and 11 rebounds per contest.
"Rachel's obvious attribute is her size," said UNA head coach Missy Tiber. "She will be one of the tallest players in the conference and that alone will be difficult to deal with. I'm excited to work with her as I believe she has the qualities to be very good for us and a force at both ends of the floor."
The three latest freshmen additions include a local product in Savannah Stults. She finished her career at Lexington High School by eclipsing the 1,000 point total. The four-time all-county and all-area selection was a first team All-State honoree during her senior year after averaging 16.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
"Savannah is a hard working guard that will fit nicely into our style of play," said Tiber. "She also has a great demeanor about her that will allow her to develop."
Jacqueria 'KeKe' Gunter comes to UNA from Columbus High School in Columbus, Ga. She helped lead the Blue Devils to a state runner-up finish in the Class-AAAA tournament. She also scored more than 1,000 points during her prep career, earning multiple MVP honors and was a two-time All-Bi City selection. As a senior, she scored 11.1 points per game and totaled 87 assists and 54 steals.
"KeKe is extremely intelligent on and off the court," Tiber said. "Her high IQ is seen in her ability to run a team from the point. She also brings great athleticism. She can get to the rim and is a great on ball defender."
Kairneisa 'Shay' Trent played last season at Wooddale High School in Memphis, Tenn. She was named the team MVP as a senior and was also named to the all-district team for the second straight season. She finished her prep career with 1,300 points after averaging 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game for the Cardinals.
"Shay has the versatility to play near the basket but can also score from the perimeter," said Tiber. "She had to do everything for her high school team so she's used to meeting a team's needs. We like her athleticism and feel that will meet a big need for us."
In the early signing period, the Lions added a 5-4 combo guard Jaclyn Heath, from LaPorte, Ind., and 6-2 forward Jessica Brown, of Collierville, Tenn. Both will be incoming freshmen.
"Jaclyn and Jessica each had really good senior seasons in high school and we are very happy with both of them," Tiber added. "They have passion for the game as well as a high basketball IQ."
Mekena Randle will also be returning to UNA after a one-year absence. As a junior during the 2012-13 season, she was a first team All-Gulf South Conference selection. She led the Lions in scoring and rebounding with 11.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest.
"We are extremely excited to have Mekena return for her senior season," said Tiber. "She participated in spring workouts with the team, and I was extremely impressed with her high energy level and desire to compete. Mekena is extremely mobile and is an excellent fit into our up-tempo style. Her ability to finish through contact at the rim and a nose for rebounding will help us compete for a GSC Championship."
The Lions lost senior Nichelle Fillmore from last season's 15-13 squad that advanced to the semi-final round of the Gulf South Conference Tournament. Fillmore earned second team All-GSC honors and reached the 1,000 point total for her career.