Nov. 8, 2000
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - First-year women's basketball head coach Chris Denker announced the signing of three high school seniors from the state of Washington to National Letters of Intent. Quinn Thomas of Kent, Kayla Huss of Everett and Tina Donahue of Stanwood will be part of the Bronco class of 2005.
Denker said he expects to sign one more player during the fall signing period, which continues through Nov. 15. He has one more scholarship available and will look to sign another player during the spring signing period, which begins April 15.
With the newcomers, the 2001-02 squad will comprise eight players from the state of Washington. Returning to the team next year will be Becki Ashbaugh of Bellevue, Tammy Annas of Enumclaw, Jennie Rondel of Kirkland, Julie Butler of Tacoma and Courtney Cushing of Brush Prairie.
"Together, Quinn, Kayla and Tina are going to present our program with a lot of new things," Denker said. "They're going to help stabilize our three-point shooting core, which we felt we lost a little last year with the departure of Katie Pursley and Stephanie Rogers. We're also going to improve areas of athleticism, defense and rebounding."
Thomas, a highly-recruited 5-9 point guard from Kent-Meridian High School, was named the National BCI Tournament's most valuable player this past summer. Named South County Player of the Year as a junior, Thomas averaged 18.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 steals per contest in addition to being named one of USA Today's top 25 players from the state of Washington. Also a member of the school's soccer team, she was a first-team all-South Puget Sound League player in both sports. Additionally, she placed fifth in the 4x200m relay at the track and field state championships last spring.
"Quinn can shoot the three and score off the dribble," Denker said. "She has solid ball-handling skills and at 5-9, gives us a little size at the guard spot."
Huss, a 5-9 backcourt player from Cascade High School, has been a starting point guard since her freshman campaign, garnering three straight first-team All-WESCO honors. Additionally, she earned All-Area Team honors twice and was selected to the All-State Tournament Team last year when she led her team to the 4A Championships, the school's first appearance in the playoffs in 34 years. Huss averaged 18.8 points, 3.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game in addition to shooting 40 percent from the three-point line. Entering her senior year, she has already posted 1,200 points at Cascade.
"Kayla is an outstanding point guard," Denker said. "She has solid on-floor leadership, is a good passer and is also a good set three-point shooter."
Donahue, a 6-1 forward from Stanwood High School, played with Huss on the Seattle Magic this summer, an all-star high school team that toured the West Coast. She averaged 14.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.6 blocks and 3.2 steals per contest last season. She's also a four-time letterwinner all All-League performer in volleyball.
"Tina is an outstanding athlete," Denker said. "She's going to provide us with a lot of athleticism and versatility in a couple of positions. We also liked her ability to defend. We think she'll be a an outstanding defender in college. She's also a very good rebounder, just a phenomenal athlete."
Santa Clara's opened up the season Nov. 1 with a 76-58 exhibition win over the Bay Area Pro Am at Bellarmine Prep's Gymnasium. The Broncos host their final exhibition at Bellarmine tonight, when RTU Clondica of Riga, Latvia, visits for an 8 p.m. contest. The Broncos open the regular season vs. Pacific on Sat., Nov. 18, also at Bellarmine at 8 p.m. Both games are free to attend.