Pittsburgh, PA: The Western PA Bruins Spring Tip-Off was an exceptional way to kick off the spring travel season. Young women from all over the country showed that the future of women’s basketball is in good hands. It seems like the kids are running faster, jumping higher, and playing tougher as the weeks and months go by. Here are a few players that caught my eye this past weekend.
Victoria Dames 2020 6’0” Guard FBC Black-JG (GA)
Dames showed great ball awareness on defense, creating turnovers and getting steals. She is a hustle player with a high basketball IQ which allows her to create shots for herself and others. Victoria has a high motor and was able to defend multiple positions.
Briana Turnage 2021 6’0” Wing FBC Youngunz (GA)
Turnage has a long frame which she utilizes to shoot over defenders and alter shots on defense. She has good ball handles for her size and consistently knocked down the midrange jumper. Her stop and pop was almost a guaranteed bucket.
Ta’Niya Latson 2022 5’8” Guard FBC Youngunz (GA)
Ta’Niya is a go-getter on the court. She got to the bucket and was able to finish with contact. She is a tough defender that created several steals and made great ball decisions in transition. She’s a smart player and knew when to score and when to pass.
Mia Moore 2021 5’6” PG FBC Youngunz (GA)
Moore is quick with a deadly first step. She is a point guard that controls the game and did well under pressure. She can score and take over a game if she needs to. Mia is also a top-notch defender, stopping opponents while staying out of foul trouble.
Jamia Blake 2020 5’8” PG Team United (NC)
A tough and aggressive player, Blake was a threat on both ends of the court. She did a great job of setting her teammates up to score but also knew when she needed to take the shot. Jamia did an excellent job of handling the ball under pressure.
Zaria Clark 2021 5’9” Guard Team United (NC)
Clark worked hard to give her team a spark offensively and defensively. She created shots for herself and was a threat around the perimeter and in the paint. Clark was most effective getting to the rim and finishing with contact.
Alexia Smith 2020 5’8” Guard All Ohio-Black EYBL (OH)
Alexia is a solid combo guard that showed just how tough and scrappy she could be. She did a great job of being vocal and keeping the offense moving. She also did a good job of getting to the rim and drawing the foul. She has a very high motor and worked hard every possession.
Sakima Walker 2020 6’5” Post All Ohio-Black EYBL (OH)
Walker did a great job of running the court and making herself available on offense. She is a solid rebounder and altered tons of shots. She is quick for her size and uses it to her advantage against stronger and bigger defenders to draw fouls.
Treasure Hunt 2020 6’1” Guard FBC United-Hunt (TN)
Leadership and tenacity were the two things Treasure demonstrated from start to finish of every game. When it counted the most, she set fire to the rim scoring from behind the arc, and stepped up on defense, getting some very critical stops. She kept her composure in a very tough championship game and led her team to victory.
Olivia Cochran 2020 6’3” Wing/Post FBC United - Hunt (TN)
Olivia had no problem getting in the paint for easy shots, or putting her body on the line to fight for loose balls. She played great defense creating problems and helping her team get easy transition buckets. Olivia was the hardest working player on the court every game that I watched.
Ariana Wiggins 2021 5’8” PG Nike Gym Rats - Silver (IN)
Whether it was getting to the hoop or knocking down a three-pointer, Wiggins made her presence felt on the offensive end of the court. She did an awesome job of directing traffic and played extremely hard. In addition to having excellent court vision, she is also a great passer and had very few turnovers.
Makennah White 2020 6’2” Post WPA Bruins - Cash (PA)
White is a nice power forward, strong and can score with her back to the basket and facing it. She battles for rebounds and can take ball coast to coast in transition. Makennah was able to take contact and give some of her own.
Taziah Jerks 2020 6’0” Wing WV Thunder 2020 - Johnson (WV)
Jerks can play the two or three position adequately, but also battles in the paint and on the boards like a four. She made great decisions with the ball in transition and is a solid defender. Taziah was great at finishing at the rim and knocking down the twelve footer.
Payton Pickney 2021 5’11” Wing WPA Bruins - Murray (PA)
Pickney is a wing that can also play in the post and plays bigger than her size. She is a tough kid that took a lot of contact but still finished strong at the rim. She can defend bigger players and snatch down rebounds.
Kendall Foley 2021 5’6” PG WV Thunder 2021 - Johnson (WV)
Kendall was the floor general for her squad. She controlled offense and also was able to get in the paint and consistently knock down a floater. She has great court vision and is an excellent passer.
KK Bradford 2022 6’0” Guard/Wing Cincy Angels Elite (OH)
A tough player that is strong and quick, KK was able to get to the paint at will and finish strong with and without contact. She is an in your face defender and can guard smaller and quicker opponents.
Alexia Mobley 2022 6’2” Post Cincy Angels Elite (OH)
Mobley is quick and gets up and down the court well. She was a dominant rebounder on both ends of the court. She was quicker than most of the players who defended her, and she was able to beat them to the hoop when facing the rim. Alexia also has great footwork, with the ability to spin in both directions and score.
Angel Reese 2020 6’3” Wing Team Takeover 17U EYBL (MD)
Angel was an offensive threat off the dribble and posting up in the paint. She did a little bit of everything and which made her very difficult to defend. She can handle the ball and often led the charge in transition. Reese was also one of her team’s top rebounders.
Scarlett Kimbrell 2020 5'9" SG Indiana Flight 2024 (IN)
Kimbrell has a knack for scoring the ball. She was often ahead of the pack as she converted in transition. In the half court, she was a very effective offensive rebounder and scored on several deep triples and numerous putbacks. All weekend long, Scarlett was a fierce defender and strong rebounder for her Indiana Flight squad.
Mya Petticord 2022 5'9" PG Michigan Storm Elite UAA (MI)
Petticord got everyone involved and led her team to some big wins. Mya showcased her ability to score in transition as she got to the basket and knocked down open shots from the perimeter at a high rate. You probably won't find a better scorer from the point position in Michigan, as this kid can fill it up.
Alecsis Smith 2022 6'2" Post Michigan Storm Elite UAA (MI)
Coming off an impressive high school season where she posted several double-doubles, Smith didn't miss a beat in her first travel ball tournament in Pittsburgh. Smith used her size to be effective in the paint as she converted around the rim when she got her touches. The defense tried to slow her down, but she consistently made layups while being fouled. Smith is a space eater on defense, she deterred penetration and was a very effective rebounder and shot blocker.
Kamryn Grant 2024 5'11" SF Team Knockdown (OH)
Watch out world this kid from the Buckeye state is going to be something special. Grant used her length and athleticism as an advantage the entire weekend. When I watched her in action, she bodied smaller, weaker guards and blew past bigger, slower defenders and finished at the rim very effective. Grant kept the defense off balance with strong drives with either hand. She doesn't take a lot of perimeter shots, but when she did, she shot a high percentage from behind the arc.
Malaya Collins 2024 5'6" PG Ohio Lady Hoopsters-Impact (OH)
Collins aggressive style puts pressure on many defenders when she has the ball in her hands. In a fantastic matchup that resulted in a six-point loss to Team Knockdown, Collins was attacking the lane in transition and made some incredible finishes at the rim. Malaya also had her mid-range game working and even hit a couple from deep. On defense, she was pressuring the ball and playing with a high motor.
Nakiya Bonner 2024 5'5" PG Michigan Crossover (MI)
Bonnor did an outstanding job for her Michigan Crossover team in helping them secure the 7th Grade Division Title. From breaking defenders down off the dribble, throwing pinpoint passes in transition, to hitting key triples, Nakiya showed that she could take her game to another level and compete against the best. She will be one of the hottest names in the state of Michigan's class of 2024.
Bailey Pickens 2024 5'8" SG Michigan Crossover (MI)
In the games, she played Bailey was the most versatile player on the floor almost every time. Her skill set is imposing with a motor to match. She used her athleticism to get steals on defense and to push the ball in transition. Pickens was impressive the entire weekend and also made her teammates better in helping lead the Michigan Crossover to the 7th Grade Division Championship over a talented Indiana Flight 2024 squad.
Bella Ward 2022 5'11" SG Cincinnati Angels (OH)
Ward was a pleasant surprise for her team on Saturday in a tight game against Michigan Storm Elite UAA. She was a key factor for the Angels all game long. Her ball handling, passing and her driving ability kept her team close. Although they came up short, she played with a lot of heart and a ‘never say die’ attitude. I am looking forward to seeing Ward again this spring and summer as she will garner many college coaches attention with her stellar play.
LBI Quick Hitter
- 2022 Madisen Wardell (MI Crossover) was impressive and is poised to have a breakout summer.
- At 6’3” 2021 Janay Rose (Midwest Takeover) was dominating at times.
- Nike Lady Gym Rats Gold has a solid backcourt in Tanyel Welch, Teresa Maggio, and Mary Wilson
- There's a lot to like about 2022 PG Makiya Miller (Ohio Future 17U) she changes speeds very well.
- 2023 PG Dabrya Clark (Team Takeover) is the real deal, another top PG from the Takeover program.
- 2021 Morasha Wiggins (MI Crossover) Wiggins has super-elite athleticism and has improved her perimeter shot.