PORTLAND, Ore. --- Cassandra Brown (Vernon, B.C.), Alexis Byrd (Las Vegas, Nev.), Amy Pupa (Ventura, Calif.) and Elyse Snyder (Riverside, Calif.) have committed to the University of Portland women’s basketball program, announced head coach Jim Sollars. All four student-athletes have signed a National Letter of Intent and will join the Pilots as freshmen next fall.
“I love this recruiting class,” Sollars said. “We got both size and quickness with these four student-athletes and I think they’ll be great for the program.”
Cassandra Brown, a 6-1 wing at Clarence Fulton, has been named the Maroons’ Team MVP twice and is a three-time all-star selection. A regular member of the British Columbia Provincial Teams, Brown averaged a team-high 15.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last summer to help her U-17 team to a silver medal at the Canada Summer Games. In 2008, Brown earned all-star recognition at the Junior Girls Provincial Team Championships, while in 2007 she was a member of the U-15 Provincial Team that competed at the national championships. A two-time selection to the Centre of Performance Training Camp (National Team Program), Brown was an invitee to the Washington Elite Girls’ Basketball showcase in 2007 and 2008.
“Cassandra is tall and she truly is a wing who can play the 2, 3, or 4,” said Sollars. “She’s athletic, moves well without the ball and she can play inside or outside. We think her potential is unlimited.”
Alexis Byrd, who will earn her fourth varsity letter this winter, is a 5-10 guard entering her senior season at Centennial High School. As a junior last season, Byrd was named to the Nevada All-State Second Team after helping lead the Bulldogs to the state championship. During the title game, she hit the winning free throws with 0.5 of a second remaining. As a sophomore in 2007-08, Byrd was named first-team all-division and she was named the MVP at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. Byrd, who was named the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Athlete of the Month last December (2008), recently scored 50 points during a Las Vegas Hoops All-City Fall League game.
“Alexis is a combo guard who can score,” noted Sollars. “She’s quick and athletic and she comes from an intense program, so she’s used to working hard. I think it should be an easy transition for her to collegiate basketball.”
Amy Pupa is a 6-1 senior forward at Ventura High School. As a junior last winter, Pupa earned All-Ventura County Second Team Honors, while being named to the All-Channel League First Team. The Cougars have gone 75-10 during Pupa’s three years on varsity. They’re the three-time defending league champions and they advanced to the CIF Semifinals in 2008 and the Quarterfinals in 2009. Pupa has led the team in rebounds and blocked shots the past two seasons and she led the Cougars in assists as a junior, while ranking second in scoring. During the 2008-09 season, Pupa posted career highs in points (19), rebounds (16), assists (7), steals (6) and blocks (4). Last July, she helped her Swoosh Gold Club Team win the Cal Sparks Summer Jam Tournament.
“Amy can play the 3, 4, or 5,” Sollars said. “She is strong and she can shoot it pretty well. She is a good passer and we think she’s going to be a solid player for us.”
A 6-2 senior post at Patriot High School, Elyse Snyder will earn her fourth varsity letter this winter. A two-time All-Sunkist League Second Team selection, Snyder helped the Warriors reach the CIF playoffs as a junior last season. She also grabbed a school record 20 rebounds in a game during her junior campaign, while setting the school mark for highest field goal percentage (.423) and most blocks (44) in a season. In 2009, a knee injury prevented Snyder from playing on a team representing the West at the U.S. Junior National playoffs in Louisiana. She was previously invited after a strong showing at a Junior National’s Western Competition in Las Vegas, Nev. Snyder also won the 2008 Swoosh West Coast Hoopsfest with her FBC club team.
”Elyse is a true center and we definitely need size,” Sollars said. “She’s just beginning to show her potential. She has good instincts, is willing to learn and she’s very bright.”
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