Tyler Heffernan | Sea Devils Sports Journalist
WILMINGTON, N.C. - When eight women's basketball players signed their letters of intent Monday afternoon at Cape Fear Community College, they started a new chapter of their lives, both athletically and academically. But, the eight players also started a new chapter at CFCC, becoming the first group of Sea Devil women's basketball players in the team's inaugural season.
"This is a big moment for us in school history," coach Lori Drake said in a crowded CFCC Athletics office filled with friends, families and administrators. "It's something new that we add to the community.
"I was that kid out of high school that decided to go the (junior college) route, and it worked for me. You have to believe in it," she added. "I've been waiting for this since July…It's time to put the pen to the paper."
Drake expects to add more to the class—at least 13—noting that others weren't in attendance because of travel and others haven't been finalized yet. It's a group that the former UNC Wilmington standout expects to be able to win right away with.
"I have no doubt about it. The talent here is incredible," Drake said. "We had a big recruiting day a couple weeks ago, and I had 10 of our ladies here. I was just beside myself with all the talent that was on the floor. As far as winning right now, this group has everything is takes."
Drake made a formula for recruiting immediately when she was hired in July. Instead of grabbing the best available players and hoping to mold everyone together, Drake wanted to bring in players that will be able to adapt to her system.
"I was looking for a certain type of player. First of all, players that are extremely athletic, that are quick, that can get up and down the floor, that can create on their own. Players that just have a knack and a knowledge of the game," she said. "I knew what I was looking for, and I knew what I wanted. It took me a while to find these players, but it finally came together."
Porsha Buchanan, a 5-foot-2-inch point guard from Meadowbrook High School in Richmond, Va., is one of the notables in this recruiting class. A 2010 ESPN.com recruiting profile scored Buchanan an 82 of 100 among point guards, which recommends collegiate play at the mid-major level. Buchanan spent a year at Allegany Community College in Maryland.
Shelby Morris also joins CFCC as a sophomore after playing one season at LaGrange College in Georgia. Morris was a two-sport high school athlete, playing basketball and soccer. On the court, the 5-foot-8-inch shooting guard was a defensive and offensive threat.
Alexis Redd adds to a talented backcourt. At 5-foot-5-inches tall, Redd earned recognition as the conference tournament MVP with Northside High School and was the league's Player of the Year.
Ashley Altman is already a familiar name in Wilmington. As an Ashley High School standout, the 5-foot-3-inch shooting specialist was an all-conference player, team MVP and was named to the all-state Second Team.
In the frontcourt, Drake welcomes size and strength to the roster. Amanda Yoworski, also an Ashley alum, joins the team with playing and coaching experience. The 5-foot-10-inch combo player was the Screaming Eagles' leader in blocks and rebounds her senior season. She currently serves as an assistant coach at her alma mater while being a full-time CFCC student.
Jordan Hill, a 6-foot power forward, hales from New Bern where she led the Bears in scoring and rebounding with 17 and 10, respectively. Against rival Greenville Rose High School, Hill poured in 32 points and 17 rebounds.
Jade Bracey rounds out the signees in attendance. At 6-foot-1-inches tall, Bracey figures to enter the rotation at the center position. She collected a bevy of awards during her high school career at Southern Durham, including a nomination for conference Player of the Year and all-conference honors.
Destinee McDougle was unable to make the ceremony on time because of travel issues. She joins Hill as a New Bern teammate turned CFCC teammate. McDougle, a 6-foot-1-inch center, was a low-post force, corralling 8.3 rebounds per game to go along with 7.8 points.
Other commits not in attendance were Alexis Adams, Eboni Gilliam and Porche' Bentley. Adams will compete for the starting point guard position. Gilliam and Bentley will make their impacts as forwards.
"They don't all know each other right now, but when they were on the floor together, it's almost like they gelled together because of the type of players they are and the different roles that they play," Drake said. "I'm telling you, once I get my hands on them in the fall and teach them the system and physically getting them fit and building that chemistry, it's going to be dynamite."