UVA Basketball: Tina Thompson announces first signing class
UVA women’s basketball head coach Tina Thompson announced the addition of Carole Miller (Alexandria, Va.), Meg Jefferson (Sydney, Australia), Kylie Kornegay-Lucas (Camden, Del.), Dylan Horton (Los Angeles, Calif.), Yanni Hendley (Wilmington, Del.) and Shemera Williams (Milwaukee, Wisc.) to the 2019-20 team.
“I am filled with extreme excitement about our first recruiting class,” Thompson said. “They are a fun group of young ladies, full of toughness, talent and pure grit. They have something to prove and we are here to help them do just that!”
Carole Miller, a 6-0 guard, was ranked the No. 82 player in the country by ESPN and No. 21 at her position. Miller was a standout at Edison High School and has scored over 1,000 points in her career. She is a three-time VHSL First Team All-State selection and was named to the 2019 Washington Post All-Met girl’s basketball team and earned USA Today First Team All-State honors this year. Miller helped the Eagles to back-to-back Class 5 Virginia state championship games, averaging 20 points and nine rebounds her senior season.
“Carole Miller is the type of player that every team wants to have,” Thompson said. “She will make whatever contribution necessary to help her team win. She has the ability to fill the need. It’s a gift.”
Meg Jefferson is a 6-foot-3 forward who is rated as the No. 33 at her position in the 2019 class by ESPN. The new Cavalier played her high school ball at Saint Columba’s Catholic College, where she was named Sportswoman of the Year in 2018. At the club level, Jefferson helped her teams to the New South Wales state championships in 2015 and 2017 with a runner-up finish in 2016. She was named to the 2019 New South Wales U-20 team and played for the New South Wales U-18 team in the Australian national championships. During the tournament, Jefferson averaged 15 points per game and added seven rebounds, finishing as the fifth leading scorer in the tournament.
“I value versatility, and Meg brings exactly that,” Thompson said. “She has the ability to stretch the floor, play with her back to the basket, and put the ball on the floor. At her size those attributes can be a defensive nightmare.”
Kylie Kornegay-Lucas, a 5-10 guard who is ranked No. 28 at her position, played her senior season at New Hope Academy in Landover Hills, Md., leading the squad to winning the Geico High School National Championship, scoring 11 points in the final. She comes from a military family and has moved several times during her prep career, playing as a freshman at Archbishop Mitty in San Jose, Calif., before competing for two seasons at Caesar Rodney in Camden, Del. She was named to the All-USA Delaware Girls Basketball Second Team in both her sophomore and junior seasons. She also twice was named as one of the top 10 south players by the Delaware Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association (DIBCA) and has twice been named both First Team All-Henlopen Conference and First Team All-North Basketball. Kornegay-Lucas played AAU ball for the Philadelphia Belles in 2017, with former Cavalier guard Lexie Gerson as her head coach.
“When I think of Kylie, the first thing that comes to mind is toughness,” Thompson said. “Kylie has a quiet demeanor, a girl next door presence, smiling in the toughest moments. Don’t be fooled by the smile, there is a grit and resiliency that lies right beneath the surface. Always prepared for battle.”
Dylan Horton, a 5-9 guard, helped lead her Redondo Union squad to the 2018 Division 2 state championship and three-consecutive Bay League championships. She was the 2019 Bay League co-MVP, also being named to first team All-CIF Open Division and first team Daily Breeze. As a junior, she was named one of the top-30 players in the state of California, while being named second team All-Bay League and second team Daily Breeze, as well as earning All-CIF honors. The four-time scholar-athlete honoree averaged 16 points, four assists and four rebounds per game her senior season.
“Dylan is very steady and has a complete game,” Thompson said. “She can contribute to the game in several ways, just scratching the surface of her abilities. Her ability to stretch the floor and get to the basket is an asset.”
Yanni Hendley helped lead Ursuline Academy to the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association state title in both 2016 and 2017 before transferring to Riverdale Baptist and playing on the 2018 Independent School National Champion squad. She is a 2019 National Association of Christian Athletes All-American and the Pigskin Club Girls All-Metropolitan Basketball Player of the Year. She was also All-Catholic second team as a sophomore and earned an honorable mention for the Independent School National Championships team as a junior.
“Often underestimated, Yanni is small in stature yet big in game,” Thompson said. “She is a lockdown defender, 94 feet. Fiery and has the ability to make an instant impact without having the ball in her hand. That’s a mentality.”
Shemera Williams, a 5-8 guard, is ranked as the No. 54 player in the country by ESPN and the 13th-ranked point guard. The two-time USA Today Wisconsin Player of the Year and 2019 Associated Press State Player of the Year led the nation in scoring her junior season, averaging 39.9 points per game. During her final season at Milwaukee Academy of Science, she averaged 32.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 4.5 steals per game. She is the No. 2 all-time scorer in Wisconsin girls high school history with 3,120 career points.
“Shemera Williams is a crafty guard with tons of versatility,” Thompson said. “She has the ability to score in bunches. But the best part of her game and highly underrated is her ability to facilitate and make the players around her better. She is one of those talents that other players love to play with.”
These six players join redshirt sophomore Dani Lawson (Cleveland, Ohio) in Thompson’s first signing class. Lawson transferred to Virginia in July of 2018 from Purdue, but sat out last season.