Lady Toppers announce three early signees

Elliott Pratt

This year’s Lady Topper team is short on size but that may not be the case next season.

WKU announced three early signees on Wednesday, including two frontcourt players.

Coach Michelle Clark-Heard announced commitments from 6-foot forward Aleeya Harris (San Antonio), 6-foot-2 forward Bria Gaines (Glenwood, Ill.), and 5-foot-4 point guard Kierra Muhammad (Lexington).

“It’s a big day for us,” Heard said. “My staff and I, we worked really hard to get us in a position where we could fill some spots that we thought we would need in the future.

“We were fortunate to be able to sign some great players in the spring when I first got the job, but this is truly our first signing class in terms of kids we were able to have some time with to build relationships.”

Muhammad (Paul Laurence Dunbar HS), was the first of the three to commit to WKU.

Heard said she maintained contact with Muhammad throughout her high school career at Dunbar.

“She was the first one to commit and believe in everything we’re trying to do on the Hill,” Heard said. “She’s going to bring a big dynamic with what we’re trying to do with pressing, getting up the floor and pushing the ball.

“Kierra is a winner, and will provide us with some quickness and depth at the point guard position.”

Gaines averaged 27 points and 16.5 rebounds per game in her junior year, recording double-doubles in all but one game that season.

Gaines already has the ability to succeed at the collegiate level, Heard said.

“Bria Gaines is going to be unbelievable. She’s a kid that has a ton of talent, and I think already has a college body,” Heard said. “She rebounds really well, can score around the basket, and I think the biggest thing is that she’s super-excited about being a Lady Topper.”

Harris has lettered in basketball and volleyball at John Jay HS in San Antonio. Harris plays in the same high school district that’s home to Lady Topper sophomore guard Alexis Govan.

Harris averaged 15.5 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks per game with the AAU South Texas Hoyas.

“Athletically, she’s going to do a lot of things that we love to do, as far as getting up and down the floor and pushing the ball,” Heard said. “She’s very athletic and can jump out of the gym, so I’m excited about that the things she’s going to bring to the table.”

Heard said the staff is sill looking to recruit a player to fill the post position, but saving the final scholarship for next season isn’t out of the question.

“It’s just going to depend on what happens in the next couple of days or the rest of this week,” Heard said. “We’ll go from there and evaluate… we never want to close our doors to anything.”