Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Covington headlines Signing Day

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Wisconsin head coach Lisa Stone announced at a press
conference Wednesday the signing of four recruits who will be joining the
women's basketball team for the 2008-09 season.

"Today is a great day for Wisconsin women's basketball,"
Stone said. "We are thrilled and excited to announce four tremendously talented
young women who will join our program."

The new recruiting class, Stone's fifth as head coach,
includes Illinois forwards Anya Covington, Ashley Thomas and Jamie Russell as
well as Jade Davis, the program’s first-ever recruit from the state of

Standing 6-foot-2, Covington averaged nearly 15.9 points and
9.6 rebounds per game for Edwardsville High School in Illinois, and is ranked
as the No. 5 high school forward in the nation.


"She's just a tremendously brilliant young woman in the
classroom, and she has that intelligence on the court," Stone said. "When she's
on the court she demands respect due to that presence. She can run, she can
catch, she can finish inside and score, and as you look at her, I look in terms
of our needs of continuing to build our post game, and I think she'll step
right in."

Covington looks to make an immediate impact on the team, as
star seniors Jolene Anderson and Janese Banks will be leaving a big gap to

Another 6-foot-2 forward, Ashley Thomas, started on the
varsity team for all four of her years at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill. She
was also ranked as a top-50 player for all her years in high school.

"Ashley Thomas is a long, lean, athletic player that can
play both inside and outside," Stone said. "She can shoot, get to the basket
and she's very tough-minded."

In high school, Thomas averaged 12 points and 6 rebounds per
game, and was picked to the all-state team after her junior year.

Jamie Russell, the third recruit from Illinois, was chosen
as her team MVP at Rock Hill High School in Rock Falls, Ill., for all three
years she played. A guard, Russell played on an AAU team this past summer with
Thomas, and Stone sees this as a great addition to the already talented

"I watched them throughout the entire summer, and then
some," Stone said. "I saw the two of them as tremendous teammates, and both
[Russell and Thomas] are great defenders."

Russell had the highest scoring average of any of the
recruits, recording 21.5 points, along with 6.2 rebounds per game, at the guard

Davis, the only recruit from the class not from Illinois, is
a talented, quick guard. Standing 5-foot-9, Davis led Highlands Ranch (Colo.)
High School to two consecutive state championships in 2006 and 2007.

"She's just a tremendously athletic player," Stone said.
"She can play the off-guard position for us, and will. She's a strong guard —
she can step out and shoot the 3, get to the basket — a very good defender —
and she gives us the depth that we need on the perimeter."

With Anderson and Banks leaving next season, Stone and the
Badgers are looking to fill a huge gap. With the new freshmen next year, Stone said
the hole left by the graduating seniors won't be as bad.

"We're not going to replace Jolene and Janese, you just
can't," Stone said. "But, we certainly have brought in some players that fit
very well with our team. … They're all very gifted, and they're coming in on a
pretty young team. We're counting on all of these freshmen to come in to play
for us, and that's why we recruited them, to come in and play."

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