November 9, 2005

UCSB Signs Two Players to National Letters of Intent

Nov. 9, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's basketball team has signed two high school seniors to National Letters of Intent, head coach Mark French announced Wednesday.

Jordan Franey, a 6'0" forward from La Mesa, Calif., and 5'10" guard Meagan Williams of Sacramento will join the Gauchos as true freshmen for the 2006-07 season.

"These two outstanding student-athletes will help us in multiple ways," French said. "For starters, they're both very versatile, and that's something we were particularly looking for with this class. The second thing I like is that they both come from great, winning programs, making them very familiar with what's expected when joining a program with a rich tradition such as ours."

Franey is entering her senior season at Santana High School in Santee, Calif., which posted a 25-6 record and advanced to the first round of the CIF Division III State Tournament in 2004-05. After averaging 21.2 points per game, Franey earned San Diego Union Tribune First Team All-County as well as First Team All-Grossmont North League honors. As a sophomore she was a second-team all-league honoree, posting 17.4 points per contest for the Sultans. Franey's older sister Janet was a four-year basketball letterwinner at California, where she played under current UCSB assistant coach Camille Burkes.

"Jordan is a real blue-collar kid, who is solid in all areas of her game but an especially strong three-point shooter," French stated. "She's a very proud defender and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. I think a lot of our fans will appreciate Jordan's effort and intensity. Because of her work ethic and desire to be successful, she will be able to come in and help us right away."

Franey was also named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Junior First Team last season, the same honor bestowed upon Williams. She garnered Sacramento Bee 2005 Player of the Year acclaim while leading Sheldon High School to a Delta League title and a second straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal appearance, culminating with a 24-6 overall record. Williams averaged 18.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 4.1 teals per game in 2004-05, leading the league in total points while ranking second in the three other aforementioned categories. She enters her senior season with the Huskies as an honorable mention All-American according to Street & Smith's. In 2006-07, Williams will join fellow Sacramento natives Shantel Thomas and Jessica Wilson on the Gaucho roster.

"Meagan is spectacular in terms of her athletic ability, and like Jordan has no real weaknesses in her game," French said. "She shoots the three really well, puts it on the floor really well, and even posted up a bit in high school. I think what Meagan does best at this point is take the ball to the rack; she will draw comparisons to [former Gaucho guard] Mia Fisher, but is bigger and stronger than Mia."

In 2006-07 UCSB will also gain the services of 6'1" junior forward Emily Niemann, a transfer from defending national champion Baylor. She averaged 9.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 48.4% shooting during her two-year Lady Bear career, scoring 19 points during the 2005 NCAA title game. Meanwhile, Santa Barbara has the potential to award two more scholarships in advance of the 2006-07 season.

The 10-time defending Big West Conference champion Gauchos open their 2005-06 campaign on Friday, Nov. 18 at 10th-ranked Michigan State, last season's national runner-up.

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