Erin Walling, who earned All-State honors after leading Ada High to the area tournament in Class 4A this spring, is one of eight current and former high school stars who make up a potentially life-changing 2011 recruiting class for the East Central University women's basketball program.
Walling, who averaged 17.8 points and almost six rebounds per game for the Lady Cougars this season and was named to both the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches and Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State teams, joins incoming freshmen Dilan Webster from Western Heights, Taylor Fischer from Quanah, Texas, and Lindsey Carter from Class 4A power Cache, along with transfers Kodi Morrison, Lindsay McCown, Alex Tucker and Fanta Toure.
“Erin had an outstanding high school career at Ada,” veteran ECU coach Kent Franz said of Walling, who led Ada in scoring each of the past two seasons. “Sheís a combo player in that she can play anything from the high post to one of the wing positions. She had a lot on her shoulders at Ada. She was one of those do-everything players for them this past year.”
Franz said his latest recruiting class should help address a lack of depth that, combined with injuries, had proved to be a major problem for the Lady Tigers. ECU suited up as few as seven players at times over the past two seasons.
“I’m really pleased with the entire class,” Franz said. “We addressed what we felt like our biggest issue was from last season, depth at each position. So many games came down to the wire and more than anything else, the lack of depth prevented us from winning a lot of those games.
“We’ve got five kids returning and have signed eight,” he added. “We’re not done yet. We’re still looking to add one more post player before itís all said and done.”
McCown, a 6-0 post player who will be a junior, transfers in from Carl Albert State College, where she averaged 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists while shooting 53 percent from the floor and 81 percent from the free-throw line this past season for the Vikings. She played her high school basketball at Howe where she was part of a Class A state championship squad.
“Lindsay is an exceptional scorer who can really shoot it. She gives us added depth in the post which we really need,” said Franz. “She has the ability to score on the low or high post.”
Tucker, a 5-4 guard, will be a sophomore this next year after spending a season at Northern Oklahoma College-Enid, which finished fourth in the nation in the NJCAA ranks. Tucker averaged eight points and four assists for the Jets. She played her high school basketball at Crowder High School, where she averaged 26 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals.
“We tried real hard to get Alex out of high school. She’s got a chance to have three solid years here. Bringing her in will sure up the point guard position,” Franz said. “She has great ball-handling and passing skills. She can break down defenses off the dribble and has great court vision.”
Morrison, a 5-8 walk-on guard with the Oklahoma Sooners, saw limited action during her two-year stay in Norman, appearing in 18 games and shooting 92 percent from the free-throw line.
She played on a state championship team and was class valedictorian at Varnum High School. Morrison is among the state’s top 10 all-time scorers in high school with 2,530 career points as she earned OGBCA and OCA All-State awards. She averaged 22.8 points, 4.1 assists and 3.0 steals as a senior at Varnum. Morrison is also expected to play on ECU’s softball team after earning all-state accolades at Varnum in both fast pitch and slow pitch.
“Kodi is a tremendous athlete. She was a two-sport star in high school and will bring a great amount of experience after playing as a Division I athlete and being on a Final Four team (in 2009-10),” said Franz.
Toure is a transfer from Seminole State College where she averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game as a 6-0 post. She is from Bamko Mali, Africa.
“Fanta will give us the ability to score in the low post and more importantly be able to defend and rebound in the low post,” Franz said.
Webster will also help the Lady Tiger fortunes in the post with her 5-11 frame. She led Western Heights High School into the Class 5A state tournament recently and was named to the OCA All-State team and The Oklahoman's Big All-City first team. She shot 52 percent from the floor and 87 percent from the free-throw line while averaging 15.0 points per game, and she also blocked 33 shots while averaging four assists per game as a senior.
“Dilan had a great senior season, leading her team to the 5A state tournament,” said Franz. “With her athleticism, we feel the sky is the limit for Dilan and look forward to developing that potential.”
Webster has also excelled in track with an 800-meter relay championship in 2009, a runner-up finish in the 400 relay in 2009 and fifth-place effort in the 100-meter dash at the Class 5A state meet in 2010. She owns a regional championship in the 100-meter dash and a conference runner-up effort in that same event. She also qualified for state in cross country in 2009 and 2010.
Fischer, a 5-8 point guard will come to the program from Quanah High School in Texas, where she scored over 1,400 points in her career. She averaged 18 points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals while shooting 75 percent from the free-throw line. Fischer also was a first team all-district honoree as a sophomore, junior and senior and was a first team all-academic district as a senior. She was named newcomer of the year in the district as a freshman. Fisher also played softball and competed in cross country in high school.
“Taylor will also help sure up our point guard position. She is an outstanding ball-handler and passer. She sees the floor well and obviously has the knack for putting the ball in the basket as well,” said Franz.
Carter, an OGBCA All-State pick from Cache High School, averaged 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals per game while shooting 50 percent from 3-point range this last season for her state runner-up squad. She was part of a Cache’s state championship team for the 2009-10 season.
“Lindsey is a tremendous athlete and a threat to score from anywhere on the floor. She has NBA range from 3. Her speed and quickness will allow her to be a good defender at this level,” Franz said.
“We’ll have almost twice as many new players as returnees. We’ve got a good core of returners to build around with the addition of this group of new players,” Franz said. “We’ve addressed the depth issue which has hampered us the last two years. We’ll have 14-15 kids which will definitely give us more options.”