Lady Topper squad grows larger with four additions

WKU head coach Michelle Clark-Heard fires up the team during a timeout in the second half of the team’s in-conference matchup against MTSU. WKU would go on to defeat conference rival MTSU in a game that went down to the final buzzer by a score of 63-60. Placing them at the top of the current Conference USA standings. (Luke Franke/Herald)

Evan DePasco

Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard has announced the addition of four new players, some of which will join the Lady Topper basketball program in the forthcoming season. 

The announcement brings the total number of additions for the 2015-16 season to eight (including four signees from the fall signing period), with Egyptian freshman Nadine Soliman and Nigerian junior college transfer Ima Akpan available for immediate eligibility. 

Transfers Jaycee Coe, sophomore, and junior Kayla Styles will sit out next season and be able to play in the 2016-17 season. 

“These young ladies fill some needs we will have and add some depth to our future roster,” Clark-Heard said via press release. “They fit the fast-paced and high-scoring style we like to play. Most importantly, they are the kind of student-athlete that will be successful on the court and in the classroom.”

Akpan shot nearly 50 percent from the field and averaged 13.7 points as a sophomore for Kilgore College in Texas last season. 

The coaching staff has had their eye on Akpan since her high school days at Hamilton Heights Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Clark-Heard described her as an “aggressive defender and always plays incredibly hard on offense and defense.”

Soliman is one of Egypt’s most coveted players, participating in two FIBA Championships and averaging 14.3 points in the 2014 championships. 

As the No. 6 scorer for the tournament, Soliman scored 21 points and had seven rebounds during a game against Mexico and followed it with a 19-point game against Slovakia. 

“(She) is a great combo guard that is going to be able to score for us. She has been doing it at the highest level in the FIBA Championships, and I look forward to her coming to the United States next season.” 

Coe was ranked the 25th best shooting guard in the country by ESPN, while playing at Jackson County High in Gainsboro, Tennessee. The sophomore transfer spent her freshman year at Kentucky where she appeared in 16 games, but didn’t play a major role due to veteran players. 

Styles is a forward from Louisville who originally committed to play for Xavier University, but never ended up playing for the Musketeers. Styles played for Spaulding University (Division III) in Louisville last season where she averaged 17.5 points 10 rebounds and 2.8 assists. She led her team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and 3-point field goal percentage. 

The four join Sidnee Bopp, Dee Givens, Simone Goods and Kayla Smith in adding to a 2015 Conference USA Champion Lady Topper squad that saw the departure of just three seniors.