UVA women’s basketball head coach Joanne Boyle announced on Wednesday (Nov. 12) that Debra Ferguson (6-4, center, Madison Heights, Va./Amherst County High School), Moné Jones (6-3, forward, Durham, N.C./Riverside High School) and Shakyna Payne (6-3, forward, Acworth, Ga./Etowah High School) have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Cavaliers beginning with the 2015-16 season.
“This is an exciting class for us as they obviously bring additional size and length to our team,” Boyle said. “Aside from the greater size at each position, these three players also bring a unique skill set with a pair of versatile forwards and a true center. I am truly excited about embracing Debra, Moné, and Kyna into our UVA family. They are talented young women who will thrive in every environment at the University of Virginia.”
Debra Ferguson, a 6-4 center from Madison Heights, Va., has averaged 10.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. Ferguson, whose Amherst County High is located an hour south of Charlottesville, is a two-time Second-Team All-Seminole District honoree and also named First-Team All-Conference 23 last season.
“Debra is a true five who is very strong and will anchor our defense in the paint,” Boyle said. “She has great hands and footwork for a true center and also has the ability to step out and shoot the three-ball. Debra is a great shot blocker and is extremely mobile for her position.”
Moné Jones, a 6-3 forward from Durham, N.C., averaged 10 points, eight rebounds, six blocks and 1.5 assists per game last season, helping to lead Riverside High to the state tournament’s elite eight. Jones earned PAC 6 All-Conference honors in 2012, 2013, and 2014 in both basketball and volleyball. Jones participated in the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Trials last May. Jones is ESPN-W’s No. 61 overall recruit and ranked No. 11 at her position.
“Moné is a versatile forward who has the ability to thrive in the transition game,” Boyle said. “She has a really nice touch from the outside, but she can also use her quickness both inside and out. She has guard-like qualities that will allow her to play multiple positions at the collegiate level.”
Shakyna Payne, a 6-3 forward from Acworth, Ga., averaged 12.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last season at Etowah High School, leading her team in rebounding all three years, before transferring to Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy for her senior season. After earning All-County honorable mention as a freshman, she was named to the second team her sophomore year before garnering first-team accolades last season.
“Shakyna is a true post who can also run the floor,” Boyle said. “She can really stretch the defense from 17-19 feet. She can step out and shoot or she can play with her back to the basket. Shakyna is a good defender with the ability to alter shots with her length in the paint.”
The Cavaliers will only lose one senior at the end of the 2014-15 season, forward Sarah Beth Barnette.