NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb women’s basketball coach Greg Brown has announced the signings of his first recruiting class. Six student-athletes will join the Lady Bisons for the 2013-14 academic year.
“We are excited with this class,” Lipscomb head coach Greg Brown said. “They all come from very competitive high school and AAU programs along with state championship experience and national exposure.
“They are competitive kids with high character, and that is something we look for. They will fit great with our culture and the Lipscomb community.”
Sara Bliss, a native of Pleasant View, Tenn., will join the Lady Bisons after completing her sophomore year at Volunteer State Community College. As a freshman last season, she averaged 10.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
The 5-foot-8 guard said she chose Lipscomb “because it is a great school in all areas: academics, athletics and atmosphere. It is in a good location and I feel like it will be a good fit for me.”
Bliss garnered First Team All-TCCAA and All-Academic Honors while shooting 45 percent from 3-point range and hit 81 percent of her free throws.
“I’ve known Coach Brown for several years, and am excited about the things he and his staff are doing with the Lady Bison program,” Volunteer State head coach Chris Harris said. “I know Sara will fit in perfectly with what he is trying to do at Lipscomb. She has worked her way into an All-Conference player, as well as a member of the NJCAA Academic All-America team.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Sara will make an impact on the floor with her intensity, ability to shoot the basketball, and leadership. I couldn’t be more happy or proud of her on this signing.”
Maya Dillard, a senior at Buford High School in Buford, Ga., averaged five points, four assists and 3.5 rebounds per game as a junior. ESPN HS has Dillard ranked as the 92nd best point guard in the country.
Dillard said she chose Lipscomb “because of the strong Christian environment, the solid coaching staff, the character of the players and the ability to make an impact on the program.”
“I am also excited to be able to reach my full potential, not only on the court but also in the classroom. I look forward to growing as an athlete, as a student and most important, as a Christian. “
Dillard is no stranger to pressure situations as she has taken home two Georgia state championships (2010 and 2011) and one runner-up finish (2012).
“Maya Dillard is a terrific point guard,” her high school coach Gene Durden said. “Her work habits and skill set will help any team. She is the glue player every team needs to be successful.”
Dillard’s AAU coach echoed the same sentiment.
“She loves to get her teammates involved in the game,” EOTO head coach Ken Huffman said.
“Maya will do anything a coach asks her to do to make sure her team wins. She never lets anyone outwork her.”
Kelsey Gregory, a native of Lafayette, Tenn., averaged 11.8 points and 4.1 assists as a junior at Macon County High School.
Gregory has known about Lipscomb since she was a child.
“My older sister and I have attended summer camps and competed against the high school,” Gregory said. “I am well aware of their work ethics. The university campus is beautiful, the people at Lipscomb are friendly and helpful and the school has a great reputation both academically and athletically.
“It was not a difficult decision to attend Lipscomb. I look forward to being a part of the Lady Bisons.”
Gregory helped lead Macon County to a State Runner-up finish in 2011, earning All-State Tournament honors along with being named All-District and All-Region in both her sophomore and junior years.
“Kelsey comes from honest, hardworking parents,” Macon County head coach Jeff Beam said. “Kelsey plays with no fear and never backs down from a challenge.
“Kelsey has tremendous basketball skills with a very high basketball IQ. I feel LU is not only getting a great basketball player but also a great young lady who will represent the university on and off the court.”
Elise Spann, out of Allatoona High School in Kennesaw, Ga., averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists as she was named the Region 7AAA Player of the Year her junior season.
“I’m on a journey to better myself, explore new things and essentially mold into the person I am destined to be,” Spann said. “I feel that at Lipscomb I can academically and athletically flourish in this environment. Life is about being fearless and always staying curious. That is why I chose Lipscomb.”
In addition to being named to the Georgia All-State squad, Spann was named to the prestigious Naismith Atlanta Tip-Off Club All-Metro team.
Faith LeGate, of Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, was the leading scorer on the AA State Championship team averaging 12.6 points while snagging 6.8 rebounds per game. Entering her senior season, she already has 1,230 career points.
“I am looking forward to playing at Lipscomb,” LeGate said. “I am excited and appreciative about the opportunities that it will provide for me. The coaches and the girls on the team are great. I can’t wait to be a part of this program.”
Faith has received numerous awards throughout her career including “Nashville City Paper” First Team All-Mid-State, Tennessee Sports Writers AA First Team All-State and the AA All-State Tournament Team.
“We are so excited for Faith’s decision to play at Lipscomb University,” said Becky LeGate, Faith’s mother and high school coach. “She will bring versatility, energy and mental toughness, combined with the ability to score from different positions. Lipscomb is such a great fit, and we look forward to her playing under Coach Brown and his staff for the next four years.”
Also joining the Lady Bisons is Ashley Southern, a sophomore transfer from Chattanooga. As a freshman for the Mocs, Southern played in 21 games averaging 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 points per game.
A native of Tuscumbia, Ala., Southern was a three-time All-State selection out of Deshler High School and named 4A MVP for the Northwest Region after averaging 18.3 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. For her career Souther scored 2,267 points and corralled 1,434 rebounds.
Due to NCAA transfer rules, Southern is ineligible for the 2012-13 season, but will suit up for the Lady Bisons in the 2013-14 season.