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December 16, 2011

Wolff and staff sign three during early-signing period

By: Jimmy Robertson

The Virginia Tech women’s basketball staff went into the recruiting season with a handful of scholarships to offer, and the staff came out of it with three quality prospects, as Dennis Wolff and company set about rebuilding the women’s basketball program.

Wolff and his staff signed guards Alexis Lloyd and Lauren Evans and forward Alexandria Kiss-Rusk to letters-of-intent during the early-signing period in early November. These three comprise a class rated No. 35 nationally by All-Star Girls Report.

“Considering the time of year that we were hired as a staff, we are thrilled with being able to have these young women be our first three recruits,” Wolff said. “They are all good students, and they are all basketball players who will add a lot to our program. All three players will immediately compete for playing time.”

Lloyd comes in as the highest ranked of the bunch and is Wolff’s first top-100 recruit. ESPN’s HoopGurlz named Lloyd as its No. 81 overall prospect in the nation and the No. 31 guard prospect. The 5-foot-9 guard comes from Chicago, where she attends powerhouse Whitney Young High School. Her high school entered this season at No. 15 nationally in the preseason polls according to one publication after finishing 18th a year ago.

“Alexis comes from one of the best high school programs in the country,” Wolff said. “She’s a very skilled wing player, and she will immediately add to our team’s competitiveness on defense. She’ll also give us an additional perimeter shooter on offense.”

Lloyd, who chose Tech over Kansas, DePaul and Seton Hall, helped her team finish with a 26-3 record last season, as the Dolphins’ season ended with a one-point overtime loss to Bolingbrook High in the Class 4A semifinals. Two years ago, the Dolphins finished 28-3, losing to Bolingbrook in the state championship game. Three years ago, the Dolphins also lost to Bolingbrook in the state title game. Bolingbrook’s team a year ago featured seven Division I signees.

Also of note about Whitney Young High, it’s the alma mater of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Evans, a 6-0 guard out of Phoenix, also comes in as a top-40 recruit at her position, having been ranked as the No. 40 guard prospect in the nation according to HoopGurlz. A four-year varsity team member at Hamilton High School, Evans was named her team’s player of the year in 2011. She also was an honorable mention All-Class 5A selection by The Arizona Republic. In the East-West underclassmen girls all-star game last summer, she scored 16 points to lead her West team to a 92-61 victory.

Evans, who chose Tech over New Mexico and Xavier, competed for the Cal Storm Team Taurasi club team under coach George Quintero, and she played at the 2010 and 2011 Nike Nationals. She was also invited to the Nike Skills Academy as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

“Lauren is an extremely competitive combo guard,” Wolff said. “She has played at a high level in high school and nationally on the AAU circuit.”

Kiss-Rusk, a 6-4 forward for Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., is a three-star recruit by HoopGurlz. The Beaconsfield, Quebec native, played for the under-17 Canadian national team at the FIBA World Championships in France, and she was selected for the Canada Senior Women’s Basketball team that competed in the 2011 Pan Am Games. She was the youngest member of that team, which played four games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and finished in sixth place and ahead of the USA team.

“We think Alex is a little under the radar,” Wolff said. “She had an injury this summer that kept her from playing with the under-17 Canadian national team, but had great exposure with the Canadian national team at the Pan Am Games in the fall. She is a post player who has a very good future and a big upside.”

Wolff and his staff still have three scholarships at their disposal heading into the spring signing period.