SEATTLE -- After a successful 2012-13 season, Washington women's basketball is turning the page to a new year as they look to continue to build momentum with the goal of becoming one of the nation's top programs. New head coach Mike Neighbors welcomed the incoming freshmen to campus for the beginning of summer school.
The class of three highly recruited players includes Chantel Osahor and Brianna Ruiz who are currently attending summer school and Kelsey Plum who will enroll for the second session, following her trip overseas with USA Basketball. Plum joined her new teammates on campus for a couple days, before heading to Colorado Springs to begin practice at the Olympic Training Facility.
The trio brings a variety of skills both on and off the floor for the Dawgs, adding depth and versatility to a team that advanced to the WNIT as season ago.
Osahor brings a unique skill set to UW as a post player best known for her passing and getting teammates involved. The two-time Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year was a part of a powerhouse program at Mt. Saint Mary's HS in the Phoenix area. She led the Lady Knights to a national title in 2012.
"Originally, I wasn't interested in UW, but I am a firm believer in God answering prayers and after praying about it, UW came to mind. I am also interested in medicine and I know UW has a great medical school. After meeting with the coaches, I was like - let's do it."
Ruiz comes to Washington from Del Oro HS in the Sacramento area. She missed most of her senior season after an ACL injury, but returned for the final two league games and the playoffs. The 5-10 guard is a noted 3-point shooter and should provide offense from the perimeter.
"After my visit to UW, I knew right away that I wanted to come here," said Ruiz. "I just loved the campus, loved the coaches, loved the players and loved the recruits, especially Chantel and Kelsey. It was really a pretty easy choice."
Ruiz chose UW over Louisville, who advanced all the way to the NCAA title game last season. She explained that being closer to home was a factor, but it was mostly the first impression she had of UW.
Both Ruiz and Osahor admitted being surprised by Kevin McGuff departing for Ohio State, but said they were quick to recommit once they learned Neighbors had been hired as head coach and Kevin Morrisonand Adia Barnes would remain on the staff.
Meanwhile, Plum will have a busy July, which she hopes ends in a Gold Medal at the FIBA U-19 World Championships in Lithuania. First, she will have eight days of practice in Colorado Springs, before traveling to the Canary Islands for the Lanzarote International Tournament, which will be used as a tune-up for Worlds. The U-19 World Championships begin on July 18 as the U.S. takes on Lithuania in the beginning of pool play. For Team USA's full schedule click here HERE.
Plum will join her freshmen teammates at UW in August for the second session of summer school. New NCAA rules allow the Husky coaching staff limited time with the team during the summer, meaning the class will have some practice time before the season begins.
The final newcomer in 2013-14 will be Katie Collier, who redshirted her freshman season after suffering a knee injury. Collier's rehab remains on track and she is expected to be a full participant in the first practice in October.
Already returning All-Pac-12 guard Jazmine Davis, Pac-12 All-Freshman forward Talia Walton, Pac-12 All-Defensive teamer Aminah Williams and returning starter Mercedes Wetmore, the future looks bright for UW women's basketball.