Memphis Women's Basketball Inks Two Junior College All-Americans
April 15, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - The University of Memphis women's basketball team has filled its roster for the 2010-2011 season with a pair of All-American junior college players, it was announced by Head Coach Melissa McFerrin, Thursday, as part of the late signing period.
The Bronx, N.Y., native and John F. Kennedy HS graduate was recently voted a NJCAA first team All-American after helping her Lady Tribune team to a 23-6 record and a fifth-place finish at the national tournament. She was also named to the 2010 JC/CC State Farm Coaches' All-American first team. She and her junior college teammate were the first-ever Lady Tribunes to earn that honor from State Farm. She also helped Monroe CC to a 22-6 record her freshman season after guiding her Lady Knight high school team to the state championship game her senior season playing under O'Neil Glenn.
"Danay is an explosive and athletic combo guard that will make an impact on both ends of the floor," McFerrin said. "Her versatility is one of her best attributes as she is a dynamic scorer who can also create shots for others. I have no doubt that she will flourish in our up-tempo, full-court system. She is widely considered to be one of the best junior college guards in the country. While we are elated to add a player with Danay's basketball abilities to our team, we are even more excited to welcome a person of her character in to our environment."
Collier is the daughter of Dennis Collier and Danelle Lee and has two siblings, Dimya Collier and Dyllan Collier. The Bronx native will have some familiarity with Conference USA, as she was an AAU teammate of Marshall's Veronica Ruiz, playing in the Abyssinian Girls Basketball Program for coaches Alexus "Lex" Smith and Jeff Wiggins.
In the post area, the Tigers have again tapped some a Memphis link, adding Southwest Tennessee Community College's Kiana James (Jackson, Miss./Callaway HS/SWTCC), a 6-0 forward who came to Memphis from Jackson, Miss., and Callaway High School. James is the second Lady Saluqis player to don the Blue and Gray, joining rising senior Starkitsha Luellen-Higgins.
James has been the leading scorer at Southwest Tennessee Community College the past two seasons, averaging 17.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game this year, while helping the Lady Saluqis to a 16-11 overall record and to the semifinals of the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII tournament.
"Kiana is a perfect fit for Memphis because of her competitive nature and physical play," McFerrin said. "She plays with great tenacity and is willing to do whatever it takes to help her team win. Any player that averages double figures in scoring and rebounding through four years of high school and two years of junior college basketball is a workhorse. Our team will benefit greatly from Kiana's leadership by example."
James led the NJCAA Region 7 stats with her 17.4 points per game and ranked fourth in the region in rebounding and was named an NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention honoree following her sophomore season. James was also an All-TCCAA all-conference honoree as a sophomore while playing for coach Andrea Martre.
The daughter of Willie Robey and Casandra James, Kiana was a basketball, track and field, softball and volleyball athlete at Callaway High School. She was a four-time player of the week at Callaway and helped her squad to a Warren Central Classic championship and district runner-up finish. At Callaway, she averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds a game, adding 2.5 blocks and 2.5 steals a night while playing basketball under coach Maxine Johnson.
The junior college duo will join early signee Sharee "K.K." Harvey, a 6-2 post from Mesquite, Texas. The prep player inked with the Tigers during the early signing period back in November.
That trio of newcomers will join another trio of Tigers that were already in Memphis this past season, as Memphis will have the services of Jasmine Lee and Mary Jackson, a pair of four-year college transfers who sat out this season, and redshirt freshman Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, who missed this past season with a knee injury and surgery.
"We are thrilled to welcome Kiana and Danay to the University of Memphis family," McFerrin said. "We were looking for immediate contributors for this signing period. I feel that we hit a home run in adding these two young ladies to our program. Both of them have the ability to make an immediate impact next season thanks to their versatility, work ethic, and toughness. They are the perfect additions to our second consecutive, nationally-ranked recruiting class, which also includes K.K. Harvey, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, Mary Jackson, and Jasmine Lee."
Memphis is coming off a 20-14 season that saw the Tigers finish in a tie for second in the Conference USA standings at 10-6 and a post-season that saw the Tigers play for a championship in the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI), advancing all the way to the championship game before falling at Appalachian State in the title game. The 20-win season was the first for Memphis since the 2003-04 season and just the program's second 20-win season in a decade. McFerrin is just finishing her second season at Memphis and is now 32-32 at Memphis after taking over a team that had won just 30 games in the previous four seasons.
Memphis could return every player who played this season to next year's squad, pending an NCAA decision on senior guard LaToya Bullard. Bullard missed last year due to back surgery and has petitioned the NCAA for a sixth season after only being healthy enough to play in two college semesters prior to last season's back surgery. Bullard played both semesters this year, earning the team's Most Improved Player Award.
2010 University of Memphis Signing Class