NEW ORLEANS — The largest group of newcomers during the Bo Browder era — 11 student-athletes — is on the 2016-17 Xavier University of Louisiana women's basketball roster.
Those 11 will join five returning letterwomen and open the season at 5:30 p.m. Friday against Florida Memorial at XULA's Convocation Center. Browder, whose 412-154 record makes him the winningest in the program's history, is back for his 18th season as head coach.
New Gold Nuggets this season are:
• Aliyah Bell, a 5-foot-8 guard/forward from Pass Christian, Miss., Pass Christian High School and Jones County (Miss.) Junior College. She's a pre-pharmacy major at Xavier.
• Jordan Coleman, a 5-8 guard from Kansas City, Mo., and a pair of California schools: San Juan Hills High School and Irvine Valley College. She is majoring in business with a minor in mass communications.
• Rosie Davis, a 5-5 guard from Lancaster, Texas, and Duncanville High School. Her XULA major is business management.
• Jalyn Hodge, a 5-8 guard from Plano, Texas, and Plano West High School. Hodge is a biology/pre-medical major, and she hopes to become an orthopedic surgeon.
• Rexesha Hollis, a 5-9 guard from Spring, Texas, and Klein Collins High School. Hollis is majoring in political science.
• Dasha Pitre, a 6-foot forward/center from Lake Charles, La., and St. Louis Catholic High School. Her XULA major is accounting.
• Terriel Ross, a 5-9 guard/forward from Baton Rouge, La., University Lab School and Baton Rouge Community College. Ross is majoring in mass communications.
• Angelle Simon, a 6-2 center from Marrero, La., Edna Karr High School and Texas A&M-Commerce. She's majoring in mass communications.
• Gina Smith, a 5-11 forward from Atlanta, Ga., and Mays High School. She is majoring in public health.
• Maya Trench, a 5-2 guard from Edgard, La., and West St. John High School. Her XULA major is pre-pharmacy.
• Essence Wells, a 5-10 guard from Irving, Texas, and MacArthur High School. Wells is a business major.
Bell averaged 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season as a starter at Jones County. As a freshman she helped the Lady Bobcats finish second in the region. In high school Bell was all-district three times in basketball and once in volleyball. She averaged 15 points a game as a prep senior and helped Pass Christian reach the 4A South state quarterfinals.
Coleman was All-Orange Empire Conference in both her seasons at Irvine Valley. She averaged 10.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and three assists as a freshman and 8.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a sophomore. As a prep senior she was co-MVP of her league and became the first San Juan Hills girl to record a triple double (15 points, 10 assists, 10 steals).
Davis was a part-time starter at point guard her final two years at Duncanville, which was 39-0 last season, won the Texas Class 6A championship and ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today newspaper. Three times she was academic all-district.
Hodge averaged 9.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and two assists a game last season and helped Plano West reach the quarterfinals (regional runner-up) of the Texas 6A state playoffs. She was all-district and had a high game of 26 points. Hodge is a cousin of UConn men's basketball head coach Kevin Ollie and former NFL wide receiver Arnaz Battle.
Hollis averaged 10.9 points last season, 12.8 as a junior and finished her Klein Collins varsity career with 1,059 points. She helped the Lady Tigers qualify for the 6A state playoffs each of her final two seasons. She was district offensive MVP as a senior and was academic all-district four times.
Pitre was a three-sport standout at St. Louis. She was all-district in basketball, softball and volleyball and a team captain in all three. She was a member of four state-playoff basketball teams and reached the Class 3A second round in 2013 and 2015. As a senior she averaged 13.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and three blocks. As a softball third baseman she batted .654 her senior year and was all-state.
Ross averaged 7.4 points and 2.7 rebounds last season for BRCC. She was Class 3A first-team all-state as a senior after averaging 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.8 steals and helping U-High win state and district championships.
Simon averaged 1.5 points and 1.7 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the floor for Texas A&M-Commerce as a sophomore. She averaged 3.1 points and 3.2 rebounds as a freshman at the College of Central Florida, a two-year school in Ocala, and had game highs of 11 points and eight rebounds.
Smith helped Mays finish second in Georgia's Class AAAAA state playoffs her junior season. She was chosen to the Atlanta City of Champions All Star Classic following her senior year. Her brother, Garrison Smith, is a defensive tackle with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
Trench averaged 19.2 points, six assists and three steals for West St. John last season and was second-team all-state in Class 2A. She scored more than 2,000 career points. As a junior she was the NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune Small Schools Player of the Year and first-team all-state in Class 1A. Trench was second-team all-state in 1A as a sophomore.
Wells made 91 3-pointers her final two seasons at Irving MacArthur, and as a junior she averaged 11.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals. She helped her team reach the 6A second round last season and the final 16 (regional semifinalist) her junior year. Wells' mother, Cassandra Lumpkins, was a standout basketball player at the University of New Orleans and was named to the Sun Belt Conference all-time team for its first 30 seasons. Wells' uncle, Tony Harris, was a conference player of the year at UNO and played in the NBA.
Returning Gold Nuggets are guards Mikayla Bates and Kelsey Joseph, center Kelsee Singleton, giuard/forward Ireyon Keith and forward/center Bianca Brown. Keith did not play in 2015-16 because of injury.
Friday's opener will be followed by a XULA men's game at 7:30 against Wayland Baptist. The Gold Nuggets will play host to Webber International at 3 p.m. Saturday.
|2016-17 Xavier women's basketball signees|
|Name||Pos.||Ht.||Yr.*||Hometown||High School (College)|
|Aliyah Bell||G/F||5-8||Jr.||Pass Christian, Miss.||Pass Christian (Jones County JC)|
|Jordan Coleman||G||5-8||Jr.||Kansas City, Mo.||San Juan Hills (Irvine Valley JC)|
|Rosie Davis||G||5-5||Fr.||Lancaster, Texas||Duncanville|
|Jalyn Hodge||G||5-8||Fr.||Plano, Texas||Plano West|
|Rexesha Hollis||G||5-9||Fr.||Spring, Texas||Klein Collins|
|Dasha Pitre||F/C||6-0||Fr.||Lake Charles, La.||St. Louis Catholic|
|Terriel Ross||G/F||5-9||Jr.||Baton Rouge, La.||University Lab (Baton Rouge CC)|
|Angelle Simon||C||6-2||Jr.||Marrero, La.||Karr (Texas A&M-Commerce)|
|Gina Smith||F||5-11||Fr.||Atlanta, Ga.||Mays|
|Maya Trench||G||5-2||Fr.||Edgard, La.||West St. John|
|Essence Wells||G||5-10||Fr.||Irving, Texas||MacArthur|
* athletic classification at Xavier in 2016-17
Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director
XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA