PUEBLO, Colo., (June 10, 2008) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo women's basketball team has added three signees as the ThunderWolves look to defend their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title in 2008-09. The Pack's class consists of two Colorado prep athletes and a junior college transfer from California.
The Pack's JuCo transfer, Kristi Arness (Chico HS; Chico, Calif.), was one of the top players in California at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, Calif. She helped the Lady Eagles to a 25-7 record and a California State Junior College Elite 8 appearance in 2008. On the Eagles, she was the team's second leading scorer, averaging 12.9 points per game, and leading the team in threes with a 34.3 percent three-point field goal percentage, sinking a season-high of nine threes in a game last season, as well. She was also second on the team in assists and steals, and led the team in free throw percentage (80 percent).
"We're very excited about what Kristi can bring to our team," Pack coach Kip Drown said. "She has all the tools to excel in the RMAC and in our system, and we're thrilled that she is going to be a ThunderWolf."
Rounding out the recruiting class are Kendall Babler (Grand Valley HS; Rifle, Colo.) and Jennelle Branting (Dakota Ridge HS; Littleton, Colo.).
The 5-foot-8 Branting, who hails from the unofficial farm club of CSU-Pueblo women's basketball, Dakota Ridge High School (alma mater of senior Jonnie Draper as well former Pack players Lindsay Black and Leslie Haywood, now assistant coach with the Pack), gives the Pack a reliable player on the wing. Branting was an all-state honorable mention selection as a senior, and helped lead the Eagles to four ‘Sweet 16' appearances, including an ‘Elite 8' appearance in 2008.
"Jennelle comes out of a very good program and we have had some good success recruiting players out of there," Pack coach Kip Drown said. "We are impressed with her athletic ability and we think she is a very aggressive player who will fit very well into our system."
Babler, Grand Valley's leading scorer in 2007-08, helped lead her team to the brink of the 2A state championship last season, only losing by one point to Wray in the title game. Babler, a 5-foot-6 point guard, averaged a team-high 16.8 points per game and over nine assists per contest, the best assist mark in the state of Colorado. She was accurate from three, hitting 35 percent of her shots, and was named a first-team all-state selection as a senior.
Babler will join forces with the Pack's starting point guard, Rachel Espinoza, to give the team one of the top one-two punches from the point in the conference.
"Having Kendall and Rachel will give us a very good one-two combination at the point, and it could give us the opportunity to present some different looks to our opponents," Drown said.
The team is still looking at the possibility of adding one more recruit before the summer is over, Drown said.