SANTA CLARA, Calif. – One year removed from bringing in a recruiting class ranked among the nation's best by ESPN, the Santa Clara University women's basketball program and head coach Jennifer Mountain have received National Letters of Intent from five prep stars who will be attending the University and playing for the Broncos in 2013-14.
Taylor Williams – Forward, 5-foot-11 (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge HS)
USA Basketball U17 trials invitee; CHSAA Academic All-State honoree
Johanna Paine – Forward, 6-foot (Oregon City, Ore./Oregon City HS)
2011-12 Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year candidate
Montana Walters – Guard, 5-foot-5 (Oregon City, Ore./Oregon City HS)
2011-12 Three Rivers League co-MVP; 7.3 assists per game, 41% 3PT-FG
Marie Bertholdt – Forward, 6-foot-1 (Alameda, Calif./Alameda HS)
Led Alameda to a fourth-place finish in the 26-team NCS Div. II standings last year
Beth Carlson – Forward, 6-foot (Mill Creek, Wash./Archbishop Murphy HS)
Two-time Cascade Conference MVP; three-straight Cascade Conference titles
"We are so excited about these five young women joining our Bronco family," said Mountain on Thursday. "They have a very high skill set, are competitors and come from programs with great winning traditions. Each one will bring a competitive spirit and fire to our program, and I expect them to be contributing factors early in their careers."
Each high school senior brings with them impressive athletic and academic credentials. Teammates, power forward Johanna Paine (pictured) and point guard Montana Walters led perennial state title contenders Oregon City High School to the OSAA Class 6A tournament quarterfinals and a No. 4 state ranking last season.
Paine and Walters shared Three Rivers League MVP honors a year ago. The pair has helped the Pioneers amass a 49-8 record over the past two seasons. Paine averaged 15.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Walters not only distributed 7-plus assists per night, but also shot 41 percent from long range and 86 percent from the free throw line as a junior.
Situated just north of Seattle, Mill Creek's Beth Carlson has dominated the Cascade Conference over the past two seasons. Carlson, a 6-foot power forward, took home league MVP honors in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Archbishop Murphy High School has posted a 59-14 record and won three-straight conference titles during her three-year varsity career thus far. As a sophomore and junior, Carlson totaled 24 double-doubles (points-rebounds), averaging 15-plus points per game in each campaign.
Bay Area product and two-time First Team Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League forward Marie Bertholdt stars at Alameda High School, one of the area's top Division II programs. She is a four-year varsity letter-winner and as a junior last season led the Hornets to a fourth-place finish in the 26-team North Coast Section Division II standings.
Rounding out the Broncos signing class is one of Colorado's top players, Taylor Williams. The 5-foot-11 forward drew praise as a 2012 Class 5A Colorado All-State honorable mention following a First Team All-Continental League season at ThunderRidge High School. As a junior, Williams led the Grizzlies in scoring at 12.0 points per game and also averaged 5.3 rebounds per contest. She was tabbed as a USA Basketball U17 trials invitee and earned CHSAA Academic All-State honors.
"These five young ladies will be a great addition to our Santa Clara community as well," added Mountain. "They have great academic resumes and embrace the community service element that is so important to our program. I can't wait to have them on campus and believe they can have great success in our conference. I am privileged to become their coach next season."