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April 27, 2007

Eagles ink three

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team announced that 5'8" junior guard Brittany Darden (Guthrie, Kentucky), 5'9" junior guard Carly Clendenen (Anderson, Indiana), and 6'2" freshman forward/center Leigha Thompson (Teutopolis, Illinois) have signed to play for Head Coach Rick Stein's Screaming Eagles in 2007-08. The three signings are the first to sign with the Eagles this spring.

Darden is transferring from St. Catharine College (St. Catherine, Kentucky) where she earned NJCAA Division I All-Region VII honors and was named to the Western Division All-Conference team. She helped SCC to a 23-4 record in 2006-07 by averaging nearly 13 points, five rebounds, and three steals per game.

As a freshman in 2005-06, Darden averaged 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. She also connected on more than 50 percent of her shots from the field as a sophomore.

Darden graduated from Todd County Central High School in Elkton, Kentucky, where she earned four varsity letters in basketball. She earned All-Region and All-District honors during her prep career.

"Brittany is a quick, explosive guard that can make plays on both ends of the court," Stein said. "She brings valuable experience to our perimeter and will make an immediate impact on our team"

Clendenen also transfers to USI via the junior college route after spending her first two collegiate seasons at Rend Lake College (Ina, Illinois).

In 2006-07, Clendenen averaged 11.9 points per game to help lead RLC to a 24-6 mark. She shot 45.6 percent from the field as a sophomore and connected on 91 three-pointers. As a freshman in 2005-06, Clendenen helped RLC to a 19-11 record by averaging more than five points and nearly two rebounds per game.

An all-around athlete, Clendenen earned nine varsity letters in basketball, cheerleading, and cross country at Pendleton Heights High School in Pendleton, Indiana.

"Carly is an impact guard with the ability to really stretch the defense from the three-point line," Stein said. "She is a proven winner and brings experience and leadership to our backcourt."

Thompson will get her first collegiate experience at USI after graduating from Teutopolis High School in Teutopolis, Illinois, where she earned three varsity letters in basketball.

While at THS, Thompson garnered third-team All-State honors from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and played in the IBCA All-Star Game. In addition to multiple All-Conference and All-Tournament awards, Thompson was named All-Area by the Effingham Daily News. She also was named to the Decatur All-Area team.

A member of the National Honor Society, Thompson also has been active in the THS Student Council, German Club, and Varsity Club.

"Leigha brings needed size and physical play to our inside game," Stein explained. "She is a strong player with a nice touch from 15 feet and in. Leigha's best basketball is still ahead of her and I look forward to seeing her excel in our program."

Darden, Clendenen, and Thompson join 5'10" freshman guard Lauren Meneghetti (Munster, Indiana), 5'6" freshman guard Amie Newhart (Mulberry, Indiana), and 6'0" freshman forward/center Courtney Perry (Crown Point, Indiana) who signed national letters of intent during the early signing period last November. Both Meneghetti and Newhart were invited to Hoosier Basketball Magazine's 2007 Top 40 Senior Workout.

Dan McDonnel,
USI Sports Information

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