November 25, 2008
Eagles address post positions with early signings
EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team announced that 6'1" forward/centers Stephanie McSparin (Marion, Illinois) and Ashton Mertens (Morton, Illinois) in addition to 5'11" forward Simone Swary (Ft. Wayne, Indiana) have signed national letters of intent to play for Head Coach Rick Stein's Screaming Eagles in 2009-10.
"We are excited about the early signings," Stein said. "We had some needs to fill with two senior posts graduating this year and I know Stephanie, Ashton, and Simone will all be capable of stepping in and making an immediate difference for our program."
McSparin comes to the Eagles from the junior college ranks where she is currently averaging 3.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore at John A. Logan College (Carterville, Illinois). She spent her freshman year at Southeastern Illinois College after earning 11 varsity letters in basketball, softball, and volleyball at Marion High School (Marion, Illinois).
"Stephanie brings a great deal of experience against some of the best competition in the country," Stein said. "She has a strong, physical presence and will do anything needed to help our team succeed."
Mertens is currently averaging 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds as a sophomore at Kankakee Community College. She earned first-team NJCAA II All-Region IV honors after averaging 9.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per outing in 2007-08.
Along with current USI junior guard/forward Abby Williams (St. Joseph, Illinois), Merten helped lead KCC to a 30-3 record and the NJCAA II National Championship game in 2007-08.
"Ashton can score underneath and step out to hit the mid-range shot," Stein said. "She is currently averaging a double-double, which shows her ability to control the paint at both ends of the court."
Swary is currently a senior at Northrop High School (Ft. Wayne) where she earned second-team All-Conference honors after averaging 7.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game a year ago.
"Simone brings athleticism and versatility to our team," Stein said. "She can play forward or post for us with her ability to score in the paint and shoot the three."
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