November 9, 2017 - by
Women’s Basketball Starts Strong in Early Signing Period

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – On the first day of the NCAA Basketball early signing period, three future Seminoles in guards Izabela Nicoletti Leite and Amaya Brown as well as power forward Valencia Myers inked their National Letters of Intent with Florida State Women’s Basketball. All three are ranked in the ESPNW Top 100.

Nicoletti Leite, Brown and Myers will be eligible for competition beginning in the 2018-19 season.

Two years ago Florida State Women’s Basketball impressed with their highest-ranked recruiting class at fourth in the country. Thanks to an early splash on day one, the Seminoles are building toward an even higher ranking this year.

“These three players have the potential to produce outstanding careers at Florida State,” head coach Sue Semrau said. “They provide the right fit for our program and come in with an enormous amount of talent. As we carry a five-member senior class this season, there is an opportunity for Izabela, Amaya and Valencia to step in and contribute right away as freshmen next year. We look forward to their arrival.”

Wednesday’s three signees all have program-changing impact for Florida State Women’s Basketball. Nicoletti Leite is a native of Americana, Sao Paulo in Brazil, but is currently attending Neuse Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C. The 5-foot-10 guard has been an international sensation, competing with the Brazilian National Team in 2015 and also playing multiple times for the Brazilian U16 and U17 teams.

Nicoletti Leite is the sixth-ranked player in the ESPNW 2018 Recruiting Class and the second-ranked guard. She led Brazil to a silver medal at the 2015 FIBA Americas and recorded 24 points in a win against the United States as a member of Brazil’s U16 Team.

With Florida State’s recent success adding international talent, Nicoletti Leite fits perfectly into FSU’s system. She has tremendous court awareness and can make plays for herself as well as her teammates. With the departure of redshirt senior point guard AJ Alix and redshirt senior shooting guard Imani Wright following this season, Nicoletti Leite will have an excellent chance to step in and grow immediately.

Brown is another Top-100 player in the class, ranked 82nd overall by ESPNW. She is an athletic 5-foot-11 player who is aggressive getting in the lane – an attacking guard who isn’t afraid to draw contact and always gives herself extra chances at the line. She was named New Mexico’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2016 out of Cibola High School.

However, Brown has really upped her game defensively, proving to be a steals machine and a lock-down guard on the high school and AAU circuits. During her sophomore season in 2015-16 when she was crowned the state’s Gatorade player of the year, she averaged 18.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.8 assists. As a freshman, she helped her high school to a state title.

Adding a taller presence around the rim is 6-foot-3 Myers, the 40th-ranked player by ESPNW. The power forward finishes well inside and has a good, agile post presence. She is considered one of the best front court players in the 2018 signing class who rebounds and defends very well.

Myers was named an Associated Press Honorable-Mention Division I All-Ohio performer earlier this year. She also has experience with USA Basketball, playing for the 2015 U16 National Team in Puebla, Mexico. In that same year she was honored as an NOC Valley Division First Team player out of Solon High School.

Myers looks to follow in the footsteps of some other successful Garnet and Gold Ohioans, which include current assistant coach and All-American Brooke Wyckoff (Wester Chester, Ohio) as well as fellow All-Americans Cierra Bravard (Sandusky, Ohio) and Natasha Howard (Toledo, Ohio). All three were standout post players.

The early signing period continues through Thursday, Nov. 15. While FSU looks to add more impact players, it also channels its focus on Friday night’s season opener against UNF at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Friday’s game is Military and First Responders Appreciation Night, with $3 tickets being sold to those two respective groups.

THOMAS NAMED TO CHERYL MILLER AWARD WATCH LIST
SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Wednesday the 20 watch list candidates for the 2018 Cheryl Miller Award, which includes FSU senior forward Shakayla Thomas. Named after the three-time Naismith Player of the Year, the annual award in its inaugural year recognizes the top small forwards in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.

The Selection Committee for the Cheryl Miller Award is composed of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2018 Cheryl Miller Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Ms. Miller and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalist at www.hoophallawards.com.

The winner of the 2018 Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award will be announced during ESPN2’s telecast of the national semifinal games in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 30. Additional awards being presented include the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award, the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard Award, the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award, and the Lisa Leslie Center Award, as well as the Wade Trophy, the sport’s oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award.

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