WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW News Release) - UNCW head women's basketball coach Karen Barefoot has announced the addition of three student-athletes to her roster for the 2018-19 season.
Transfer Ahyiona Vason (Pensacola State) will join incoming high school standouts Jessica Mitchell and Zhaneia Thybulle on the roster.
"We are really ecstatic to have these three student-athletes join our Seahawk family," said Barefoot, who took over the helm of the program in May. "They are not just talented players, but incredible individuals and we are really looking forward to them being a part of our program in the future."
Vason, a 5-foot-4 guard from Montgomery, Ala., earned First-Team All-Conference honors as a freshman at Pensacola State after averaging 9.9 points and 4.7 assists per game. She was honored as the Division I JUCO National Player-of-the-Week on Jan. 11. A four-year starter at Jefferson Davis High School, she received Montgomery News Journal Player-of-the-Year distinction as a junior and was a member of two state championship teams.
According to Barefoot, "Ahyiona is definitely one of the top junior college guards in the country after a tremendous high school career when she was named as the Alabama Player-of-the-Year. We are excited that she picked us over several Power 5 schools and can't wait for her to join our program. She is a very quick guard who is as tough as nails. Ahyiona is one of the best defenders I have seen during my coaching career. Her decision making in the open court is one of the best things I have seen."
A 6-1 forward from Mount Airy, Md., Mitchell is a three-year letter winner at Linganore High School who paced the team with a 12.1 points per game average last season. The First-Team All-County selection equaled a school record with 41 blocked shots. Mitchell also plays for the Germantown Panthers AAU Team.
"Jessica plays for one of the top AAU teams in Maryland," said Barefoot. "She may not put up a lot of numbers, but she is going to help us because she is so intellectual on the floor. She will contend for a spot in the rotation right away because she is very physical and will be a great addition to our program. Jessica can finish around the rim with both hands, has the ability to shoot and defend, and is a great rebounder."
Thybulle, a 5-7 guard from Long Island, N.Y., was an All-Nassau County Team selection and earned the A1 Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year award last season.
Barefoot said, "Zhaneia is one of the top players in Nassau County. She is a dynamic scorer who can play multiple spots on the floor. I watched her play all summer and I fell in love with her game because she can do it all. She is a great leader on the floor and can do so much for us in the future. Our defensive game is going to step up with her joining our team. I think she is going to help us get to that next level."
"We feel like we added a group of really dynamic and talented pieces to our puzzle. They all fit what we are looking for as a whole package type of student-athlete. They are all ultra-competitive, tough, and athletic players on both sides of the ball. Each of them has a high motor and crazy energy with a championship mindset.
"I feel like we can get to the next level with the addition of these three players along with the three players who are sitting out this year (Ashli Jeune, Shrita Parker, GiGi Smith) after transferring."
2018-19 UNCW Women's Basketball Signees
Player Pos. Ht. Hometown Previous School
Jessica Mitchell F 6-1 Mount Airy, Md. Linganore High School
Zhaneia Thybulle G 5-7 Long Island, N.Y. Elmont Memorial High School