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Bollant announces third recruiting class for women’s basketball team

Jordyn+Hughes+gets+ready+to+shoot+a+jumpshot%2C+as+a+defender+confronts+her%2C+during+Eastern%E2%80%99s+102-43+victory+over+Oakland+City+on+Nov.+6.
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Bollant announces third recruiting class for women’s basketball team

Jordyn Hughes gets ready to shoot a jumpshot, as a defender confronts her, during Eastern’s 102-43 victory over Oakland City on Nov. 6.

Jordyn Hughes gets ready to shoot a jumpshot, as a defender confronts her, during Eastern’s 102-43 victory over Oakland City on Nov. 6.

Adam Tumino

Jordyn Hughes gets ready to shoot a jumpshot, as a defender confronts her, during Eastern’s 102-43 victory over Oakland City on Nov. 6.

Adam Tumino

Adam Tumino

Jordyn Hughes gets ready to shoot a jumpshot, as a defender confronts her, during Eastern’s 102-43 victory over Oakland City on Nov. 6.

JJ Bullock, Sports Editor

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When Matt Bollant took over as the head coach of Eastern’s women’s basketball team, it was no secret that a couple of years of transition and new faces around the program would be coming as Bollant began to try and turn around a program just shy of being in shambles. 

On Wednesday, Bollant announced his third recruiting class in his tenure as head coach, one that will likely be a part of any turnaround the program can make.

Lariah Washington, a guard from Minnesota; Morgan Litwiller, a forward from Indiana and Paige Schuman, a guard from Wisconsin, were the three players announced to be joining the Panthers in 2019-2020. 

“This is our third recruiting class, and we feel like we have done well in the first two and continue to raise the bar with this class,” Bollant said via press release. “As a group, this is definitely a step in the right direction for us. This is a class we feel like can do extremely well in our conference and help take us where we want to go.”

Washington is the biggest scorer of the trio. She has averaged 24.9 point per game and 5.9 rebounds during her time at Apollo High School. She has also set a single-season scoring record and has been named to both the All-Area and All-Conference teams three times in her career. 

“Washington is a big-time athlete and could be the best athlete in our program,” Bollant said via press release. “She scored over 1,700 points going into her senior year including 25 a game in a high-level league in Minnesota. She could develop into one of the best players in our league. She is so athletic and a big-time defender who does everything well.”

This is the second year in a row that Bollant has added a guard he felt could develop into the best athlete on the team; he had similar feelings about now freshman guard Kira Arthofer when she signed. 

This season Arthofer has already been an impact player on defense and is averaging 6.3 points per game as the first player off the bench. 

Schuman has done nothing but win during her time at Beaver Dam High School, and that is one of the most intriguing things about Bollant’s other guard addition of the recruiting class. Schuman is 77-4 during her career in high school and has won three conference championships and two state championships. She averages 7.3 ppg, and her 371 career assists is second in her school’s history. 

Bollant said she could be the best point guard in the state of Wisconsin. 

“She is incredibly smart in this position and is always in the right place at the right time,” Bollant said via press release. “She makes the right decisions and is as good of a passer as there is in the Midwest. She is a complete point guard who has had tremendous success for her high school and AAU team.”

If things go to plan for Eastern with Schuman and Washington, they will join an already very successful list of guards that Bollant has recruited in his time so far at Eastern. 

That list includes sophomores Taylor Steele and Karle Pace, who both started as freshman and continue to do so as sophomores. Steele currently leads the team in scoring this season, averaging 13 ppg, and Pace is second with nine ppg. 

Arthofer and fellow freshman Jordyn Hughes are the headline guards from last year’s recruiting class. Arthofer’s impact was already stated above, and Hughes has averaged 5.7 ppg and has played 33 minutes in three games. 

Litwiller is the lone forward of this year’s recruiting class; she averaged 17.2 ppg and 6.8 rebounds per game. As a junior she was named a junior all-star, first team all-conference, and first team all-area honors. 

“Litwiller is just a really solid three/four player,” Bollant said via press release. “She is really smart, shoots the basketball well and can pass it. She’s just a player that can do everything at a high level. She plays on a really good high school team and a really good AAU team, and she shows no real weaknesses at all. I believe she will have immediate impact for us.”

Litwiller joins sophomore Grace McRae, freshman Abby Wahl and junior Claudia Stan has forwards on the roster recruited by Bollant. 

McRae has been an impact player for the Panthers since her freshman season last year. She started in 27 of the Panthers’ 29 games at forward alongside Jennifer Nehls. McRae averaged 6.3 ppg and 4.3 rebounds last season. She retained her starting role this year and is expected to take big steps forward.

Wahl has seen 43 minutes this season and is averaging 4.3 ppg. She came into the program already bench pressing the most weight on the team. 

Stan is expected to take a redshirt this season.

Bollant fully expects Litwiller, Washingston and Schuman to join the ranks of what has already been two years of successful recruiting for him, as the Panthers continue to slowly work their way back to relevancy in the OVC.

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

About the Writer
JJ Bullock, Sports Editor

Hey, I'm JJ Bullock and I am the Sports Editor. I am a junior journalism major. I spent last year as the Assistant Sports Editor. Prior to that I served...

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Bollant announces third recruiting class for women’s basketball team