Lady Bears Sign Pair to National Letters of Intent
SPRINGFIELD -- Nijay Gaines (Des Moines, Iowa) and Kenzie Williams (Mt. Vernon, Mo.) have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Missouri State women's basketball program for the Fall 2011 semester, Lady Bear head coach Nyla Milleson announced Wednesday.
A 5-11 guard/forward, Gaines is a former teammate of current Lady Bear Tia Mays at Des Moines East High School. As a junior, Gaines helped the Lady Scarlets to a 25-1 record and 4A runner-up finish in the Iowa state tournament, averaging 10 points and six rebounds en route to earning first-team all-conference and all-region honors. One of three Division I signees on her high school team this fall, she has played a key role in East's 61-9 combined record and three conference titles over her first three prep seasons. Additionally, she has competed in AAU ball for the All Iowa Attack.
Williams is the latest local product to commit to the Lady Bears, joining the likes of Casey Garrison, Lacey Boshe, Whitney Edie, Aly Stock and Hannah Wilkerson, who chose to stay close to home in recent years and don the Maroon and White for Milleson's program. A 5-11 guard, Williams averaged 17.6 points, 5.2 boards and 2.9 assists as a junior, guiding the Mountaineers to a 30-3 season that culminated in a Missouri Class 4 state championship. Williams was named first-team all-state by the Associated Press and Missouri Basketball Coaches Association and was chosen by the Springfield News-Leader for its annual All-Ozarks team. Williams also competed in track and field and earned second-team all-state honors competing in volleyball this fall for Mt. Vernon.
Missouri State opens the 2010-11 regular season with a Friday (Nov. 12) evening contest against Lamar in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT. Tickets for the 5:35 p.m. at JQH Arena are available at the Missouri State Athletics Box Office, online at www.MissouriStateTix.com, or by calling (417) 836-7678.