Ending the 2005-06 women’s basketball season with a disappointing 9-20, 2-14 MWC and coming in last in the conference, the CSU Ram women’s basketball program is looking to take on a new direction for the 2006-07 season.
Head coach Jen Warden and her staff had already signed on four new players in November before gaining verbal commitments from Kelly Mullaney, an All-state guard from Minneapolis, Minn. and Nya Mason, a low post presence from Portland, Ore. The program has a full month to sign more prospects.
Raysha Ritter, this year’s only in-state recruit who hails from Grand Junction, is coming in to dominate under the basket. This 6-foot-3-inch post player was named Southwestern League Player of the Year and has been named to the first team all-conference team for all three years she played.
“Besides being one of the best post players in the west, Raysha has a toughness about her and a refuse to lose mentality. This is a player from day one that our staff envisioned as Colorado State Ram,” Warden said earlier in the season.
Coming from Azusa, California, Juanise Cornell will bring her athletic talent to the Rams as a forward. This two-sport athlete (volleyball and basketball) has won the Del Rey League and CIP Championships the past two years for basketball. Warden will look to Cornell to step up the level of competition on the team.
“Juanise is a true athlete that always finds a way to get it done…She does the things that scouting can’t prepare for, offensive boards, deflections, hustle plays. Her addition at the forward spot will raise the level at Colorado State,” Warden said.
From small-town Roseville to the big city of Minneapolis, the CSU staff has found three Minnesotans to join the Rams. Joining Mullaney in the backcourt will be her school teammate Emily Neal, who has been named to her all-conference team two times. With experience as a point guard, Neal will bring leadership to the women’s basketball program on and off the court.
“Emily Neal is a future leader at Colorado State. Not only is she a very skilled guard, she also plays fearlessly and was the heart and soul of her state championship team at Breck,” Warden said.
Lindsay Laur, a 6-foot forward from Roseville, Minn., brings both athletic skill and power to the court. Despite being highly recruited by teams like Nebraska, Wisconsin, Marquette and Minnesota, Laur chose to make CSU her new team. During her career, Laur was named to her all-conference team twice, as well as being awarded conference MVP.
“The first time we saw Lindsay Laur, we knew she was a special player with a big conference ability,” Warden said. “She is a strong, powerful forward with a soft shooting touch. Lindsay is a versatile forward that brings competitiveness and will to win.”
Kelly Mullaney is the daughter of former CSU football player Mark Mullaney who was a linebacker for the Rams in the ’70s. Mullaney was named first team All-state by the Minnesota Timberwolves after averaging 22 points a game her senior year.
Rounding out the roster is 6-foot-2 Nya Mason, who starred at St. Mary’s Academy in Oregon. Mason scored more than 500 points last season and was named conference player of the year. Mason was named January player of the month by a local television station after recording 35 points, 25 rebounds and seven blocks in one game against rival Reynolds High.
Stacey Zynen can be reached at email@example.com.