Mavericks sign group of players
Only one week into the season, Colorado Mesa women’s basketball coach Taylor Wagner took a quick peek at the future Thursday, announcing the signing of five players in the early signing period.
“We’re not done yet,” Wagner said, but he likes the five high school players who will join the team next season, three from western Colorado.
“The big thing we were looking for was toughness,” Wagner said. “They’re all going to play hard, they’re all coachable, they’re all great teammates, all great students, and I think they can play, too. I think it’s going to be something where they can come in and compete. I’m excited to see what they do this year and how they improve and when we get them next fall what we can do with them.”
Sophia Anderson, a 5-foot-9 wing from Paonia High School, gives CMU some size on the perimeter and a winning background, helping the Eagles reach the state tournament the past three years. She averaged 14.2 points and 3.4 rebounds a game last season, when she made the all-state team.
“I like the big wings,” Wagner said. “It’ll give us some size out there and they compete really hard, so that combination hopefully will be a recipe for success.”
Kylyn Rigsby led Grand Valley to the state tournament last season, averaging 19.9 points a game second in Class 3A in scoring. The 5-10 forward also averaged nearly six assists a game.
“I first saw Kylyn five years ago at an individual camp on campus,” Wagner said in a release announcing the signings. “I thought then she might have a chance to be a good player. Every time I watch her play she leaves it all on the floor.”
He plucked 5-5 point guard Katrina Chandler out of Durango after her junior year, when she averaged 15 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals a game. After practice Thursday, Wagner said Chandler loves the game.
“She’s someone I would consider a basketball player She loves to play,” he said. “She doesn’t do this as a hobby like some girls do.”
Ashley Madden, a 5-6 guard, led the Class 5A Jeffco League in scoring the past two years, including 17.3 points a game last season. Wagner called her a great competitor who can play either point guard or on the wing.
Wagner also ventured into Utah, signing Sierra McNicol, a 5-11 forward from Bingham High School in South Jordan. She was a first-team all-state player last season, averaging 11 points and four rebounds, and has been a starter since her freshman year.
“It’s getting a little harder with Westminster now and Dixie coming in,” he said about recruiting Utah players, which has been a staple of his program. “But it’s a good place and we have a lot to offer. I’m not intimidated to go after those kids at all.”
The biggest thing Wagner likes about the early signees is that they had CMU at the top of their list.
“I love they want to be here,” he said. “That’s huge. They want to be Mavericks and (continue) what we’ve done in the past.”