Women's Basketball Adds Size With Early Signing Class
Nov. 13, 2013
MEMPHIS - -
The University of Memphis women's basketball team announced the addition of five newcomers as the early signing period got underway Wednesday. The five-member class includes three players for the Tigers' front-line and a pair of guards, including local product Amber Holmes out of Overton High School.
An all-district honoree last year, 6-3 post Alisha Celestine will become Melissa McFerrin's first signee out of the state of Louisiana. Celestine averaged 14.8 ppg as a freshman at St. Mary's, then transferred to Warren Easton High School and had to sit out her sophomore season per LHSAA transfer rules. Playing with a new team under Coach Darius Mimms last season, Celestine averaged 7.0 ppg and 4.5 assists per game inside for the Eagles.
She helped her new team to a 34-3 record last year before falling in the Louisiana Class 4A semifinals.
"Alisha is a 6'3" left-handed post that can really rebound and run," McFerrin said. "She also specializes in blocking shots and owning the paint. Alisha will fit well into our defensive system."
She played club ball with the Lady Pumas for coach Reshad Baker.
The daughter of Obery Celestine and Lachelle Williams, Celestine choose Memphis over Arkansas and Texas Tech.
Brea Elmore from Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia, will give McFerrin her next generation of Georgia-native at guard, following in the footsteps of Alex Winchell (South Gwinnett) and Brittany Carter (Covington).
The daughter of Stanley and Dianne Elmore, Brea helped the Redan Lady Raiders, to the elite 8 of the Georgia High School playoffs last year while earning All-Region honors for a second straight year. She averaged 15 points per game for coach Jerry Jackson, while shooting 46 percent from three-point range and 55 percent from the field. She also averaged 5.6 assists, 5 steals and 5.7 rebounds per game. . She was named a 4A All-State north honoree last season. Redan finished the year with a 25-3 record and was the No. 14 ranked team in the state of Georgia at the end of last season.
She played club basketball for the Atlanta Celtics.
"Brea is a fluid transition guard that can really shoot the basketball," McFerrin said. "She can create plays in the open court with her speed and intelligence. Brea is a special talent that is just tapping into her long term potential."
Also recruited by College of Charleston, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Tennessee Tech, Georgia, Charlotte and Missouri, Elmore is considering majoring in either communications or pre-law at Memphis.
The one Memphis-area signee in the early class was the first to verbal to the Tigers and 5-7 guard Amber Holmes made it official Wednesday. Also recruited by Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, Holmes is the daughter of Elton and Kendra Holmes. She helped Overton to the TSSAA Class 3A semifinals last year, finishing with a 32-7 mark while playing for coach Lynn Smith. Holmes averaged 12 ppg as a junior last year.
"Amber is a local Memphis point guard with quickness and ability to push tempo. She will rehab from an injury this year but be back to full speed when she enrolls at Memphis. We are pleased to have another home grown talent choose Memphis," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said.
As a sophomore, she helped Overton win a AAA city championship, a District 15AAA championship and finish as Region 8 runners-up and state semifinalists.
She played club ball with Team Memphis Elite for coach Elton Holmes.
She will join fellow Memphian Ariel Hearn in the Tigers' backcourt beginning in 2014.
A three-year letterwinner in basketball and track at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock, 5-11 wing Damonique Miller will join the Tigers' front court in 2014. A three-time all-conference honoree and an all-district honoree last season, Miller averaged 18.5 points, 11, rebounds, 3.2 steals and 4.0 assists a game last year while playing under coach Anwar Hardin. She is the No. 59 ranked wing in the class of 2014 by ESPN and is a three-star signee.
The daughter of Carlos and Lillie Miller, she also played club basketball with the Arkansas Lady Hawks for coach Gene Alexander. She wants to study physical therapy at Memphis.
"Damonique is an ultra-athletic wing that will thrive in our up tempo system," McFerrin said. She has an incredible motor to defend and run lanes, as well as a developing three-point shot. Damonique will be a great asset on the perimeter."
Another signee for the Tigers from the Arkansas Lady Hawks is 6-4 post Angelina Williams from Searcy, Arkansas. Williams will bring a significant presence to the Tigers' line-up, as she averaged 16.2 points, 14.0 rebounds, 3.7 blocks and 3.0 assists per game last year as a junior while playing for coach Michelle Birdsong. She was an all-state and all-conference honoree and started 26 of Searcy's 27 games last season.
Williams was also recruited by Marquette, Louisiana Tech, Arkansas, Arkansas State and Grambling State and played club basketball with Damonique Miller for coach Gene Alexander with the Arkansas Lady Hawks.
"'Tree' is a developing 6'4" post presence that will add size to our roster. She has good hands and a soft touch," McFerrin said. "Her determination to gain the best strength and conditioning will allow her to be a force inside over time."
The daughter of Diane Houston, Williams is also a member of the A-B honor roll.