FAYETTEVILLE – San Diego area forward Jamesha Townsend became the University of Arkansas’ fifth women’s basketball signee of the early period, Lady Razorback head coach Tom Collen announced today.
Townsend joins a five-player class of Louisville, Ky., guard Ceira Ricketts; Carlisle, Ark., guard Julie Inman,; Hoover, Ala., shooting guard Lyndsay Harris; and 6-2 forward Ashley Daniels of Coldwater, Miss.
“I have no idea where the experts will rate this class, but I consider it one of my finest, especially compared to my first-year classes at each of the programs I’ve had to rebuild,” Collen said. “In my mind, it’s a top 20 class. It may lack a single true superstar, but we’ve got five players ranked in the top 150 nationally. This is a great start for a program that hasn’t been in the NCAA tournament in the past four years.”
Townsend is typical of the class, and brings a high-level of success and athleticism to Arkansas.
“We are extremely excited about Jamesha,” Collen said. “She’s a 6-2 athlete that can play anywhere on the floor. She has played at one of the top high school programs in the country. She has played against some of the best in the country in southern California.”
Townsend chose Arkansas over Arizona and Temple, and is the first high school signee from the state of California since Shelly Wallace of Delano, Calif., in the 1985. The Lady’Backs other two Californians were junior college transfers, including current team member Lauren Ervin.
She plays this season for Chula Vista, Calif., Bonita Vista High School. Townsend averaged 11.7 ppg last season for La Jolla High, and was named third-team all-San Diego region by the Union Tribune. Her La Jolla teams won three straight California Interscholastic Federation District 4 titles in the San Diego area, ranking either first or second among all girls teams in the region.
Townsend also has a three-year varsity track history, and her mother, Regina, was an all-state track athlete during her high school days in Arkansas.
The addition of Townsend rounds out the expected signees for the early period. Collen and his Arkansas staff are very pleased with their initial players.
“Only time will tell, but the true test of any class is how they perform as they advance and become juniors and seniors,” Collen said. “All the players are extremely versatile and can play multiple positions, and that will be important for them next year as freshman at Arkansas.”
The Lady Razorbacks are off to a 4-0 start on the season under first-year head coach Collen, and travel to San Antonio, Texas, for the UTSA Thanksgiving Classic on Friday and Saturday. Arkansas faces Georgia Southern on Friday at 5 p.m., then plays University of New Orleans on Saturday at 2 p.m.