PHILADELPHIA- Five new Quakers will join the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team as head coachMike McLaughlinofficially announced the Class of 2019 on Thursday. Kristen Daley, Jameira Johnson, Princess Aghayere, Deja Jackson and Ashley Russell will don the Red and Blue.
"Our goal every year is to bring in great athletes, who fit the ideals of our program and University," said McLaughlin, who has produced the Ivy League or Big 5 Rookie of the Year in each of his first five recruiting classes. "I'm proud of our staff for finding another group that does exactly that. This is a fantastic class that will make our team better, and our institution proud."
The Class of 2019 is another highly-decorated group featuring a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year (Russell), a McDonald's All-America nominee (Daley), a three-time league champion (Johnson), a two-time all-state honoree (Aghayere), and three-time all-conference and team MVP (Jackson).
The quintet consists of three guards and two forwards, and hails from four different states. Daley and Russell are Massachusetts natives, while Johnson makes the trip north from Maryland and Aghayere joins the Quakers from Virginia. Jackson makes the furthest trip to the City of Brotherly Love as a native of Grinnell, Iowa.
The five newest members of the Red and Blue will join nine returning letterwinners and three returning starters from a team that claimed the program's first-ever Big 5 title last year, and reached the postseason for the third straight season (school record). The Quakers were 21-9 last year, including 11-3 in Ivy play, and reached the second round of the WNIT.
Duke is set to visit The Palestra in the season opener on Nov. 13. The Quakers will announce their full 2015-16 schedule later this summer.
Penn Women's Basketball Class of 2019
South Lakes High School
South Lake:Four-year letterwinner ... Served as team captain as a senior … Three-time first-team all-conference … Two-time second-team all-state … Team won two district championships (2013 and 2014) … Recorded 31 points and 30 rebounds in one game as a senior, and averaged 17.9 points and 12.7 rebounds per game ... Finished with 1,006 career points and 1,027 career rebounds ... Also lettered in cross country and volleyball.
Personal:Daughter of Anthonia and Roland Aghayere … Has two brothers, Emmanuel and Kelly ... Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.
From Coach McLaughlin: "Princess rebounds as well as any high school kid I have seen. She has great instincts for the ball, tremendous hands and is developing a solid perimeter game. She played in a great high school program under Christy Winters Scott which has prepared her for the next level.”
The Rivers School
The Rivers School:Four-year letterwinner ... Served as team captain as a senior … McDonald’s All-America nominee … Four-time all-league … Four-time New England All-Star selection … Surpassed 1,000 career points ... Won New England Class B title in 2012 and amassed a record of 68-9 over her career … Team reached the New England Class A finals in 2013 and semifinals in 2014 and 2015.
Personal:Daughter of Susan and Kevin Daley ... Sister, Liz, played basketball at Emmanuel College … Sister, Emilee, plays basketball at Boston College … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.
From Coach McLaughlin: "Kristen is a very good athlete and can contribute early in her career. She is a multi-faceted player. She can rebound, run the floor, and can really shoot the three. Kristen will bring great size, athleticism and versatility to our perimeter game.”
Grinnell Community High School
Grinnell:Four-year letterwinner ... Served as team captain as a senior … Three-time All-Little Hawkeye Conference First Team honoree … Three-time team MVP … 2015 first-team all-district and second-team all-state ... Named third-team all-state as a junior ... Earned 2014-15 team Leadership Award … Served as team captain as a senior … Also lettered in track & field.
Personal:Daughter of Erma Bryant and Larry Jackson ... Mother and father both played basketball at Liberty University … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.
From Coach McLaughlin: "Deja is a great athlete. She can knock down the open jumper and can shoot the three. She has the ability to score and make plays in the open floor. We are excited about her versatility and the depth she brings to the guard position.”
McDonogh School:Four-year letterwinner ... Served as team captain as a senior … Team won three league championships (2012, 2014, 2015) … Two-time Rose Classic Scholar Athlete Award winner (2014 and 2015) ... 2014 Beast of the East Annual Showcase MVP ... Also lettered four years in track & field and one year in volleyball … Track team won four league championships … Earned 2015 McDonogh Scholar Athlete award.
Personal:Daughter of Kenya Countee-Johnson and Jason Johnson … Father played basketball at Bowie State University … Has two older brothers, Paris and Pierrson, and two youngers sisters, Jasmine and Kendall ... Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.
From Coach McLaughlin: "Jameria played on a very talented team in high school in one of the best leagues in Maryland. She has developed a solid overall skillset, and has a lot of potential as a rebounder and shot blocker. Her size and length will be a great assest to our program.”
Braintree High School
Braintree:Four-year letterwinner ... Served as team captain as a senior … Two-time Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year (2013-14 and 2014-15) … Two-Time Miss ESPN Boston … Two-time Boston Herald Dream Team selection … Two-time Boston Globe Super Team selection … Two-time league MVP … Won two state championships and four league titles … Led team to a 95-7 record in her four seasons, including a perfect 25-0 as a senior … Averaged 13.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game ... Also lettered four years in lacrosse and three years in volleyball, and served as captain for both teams.
Personal:Daughter of Stacy and Patrick Russell … Sister, Taylor, plays basketball at Babson College … Enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.
From Coach McLaughlin: "Ashley also comes from a very successful program and knows how to win.She is tough, determined, leads by example,works extremely hard and earns everything she gets. Sheis the ultimate competitor."