ANCHORAGE – Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball coach Ryan McCarthy has infused his program’s backcourt with two more top-tier junior college standouts, announcing Monday that Stephanie Jackson and Lauren Johnson have signed National Letters of Intent with the Seawolves.
A 5-7 guard, Jackson played the last two seasons at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla., averaging 14.5 points in 54 career games. As a sophomore last year, she led the Saints to a 20-8 record, the Mid-Florida Conference title and the semifinals of the FCSAA/NJCAA Region 8 State Tournament, earning First Team All-MFC honors. The first Florida JC product ever to sign with UAA, she averaged 14.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.3 steals last year, tallying five 20-plus scoring efforts.
“Stephanie is a true combo guard who is very smooth with the basketball and can get in the lane to make plays. She was ranked inside the top 100 in the country for JUCO recruits by multiple evaluators,” said McCarthy, who has led UAA to a 190-34 record in seven seasons. “She comes from a very successful program in one of the top leagues in the country. She is a well-rounded player and I'm excited to see her impact our program.”
Prior to her JC career, Jackson was a key part of a McKinney North High School program that won district titles in her only two full seasons, along with a Texas 4A state runner-up finish as a freshman in 2013-14. After suffering an ACL injury early her junior season, she recovered to play in her final 11 games as a senior in 2016-17, posting 10.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per contest.
Meanwhile, Johnson comes north after starting the last two seasons at North Dakota State College of Science, where she helped the Wildcats to combined records of 50-12 overall and 23-3 in the Mon-Dak Conference. As a sophomore in 2018-19, she averaged 13.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while shooting .492 from the field and .394 from long range. As a freshman, she averaged 8.2 points and 3.6 rebounds, starting 32 of 33 games for a nationally ranked NDSCS squad that went 29-4 and won Region 13 and Mon-Dak Conference titles.
“Lauren has the ability to defend at a very high level and will give us length on our perimeter,” McCarthy added. “Offensively, her athleticism and excellent three-point touch make her hard to guard and give us a dynamic look. She comes from a very successful program and competing in the postseason was important to her.”
Johnson is originally from Crystal, Minn., where she averaged 8.8 points as a senior for a Robbinsdale Cooper High School team that went 23-3, won the Metro West League title and made the 6AAAA sectional semifinals.
Jackson and Johnson become the fifth and sixth players to join UAA’s 2019 recruiting class, along with incoming freshmen Rachel Ingram (5-7, G, Colorado Springs, Colo./Colorado Springs Christian HS) and Ellen Silva (6-1, F, Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley HS), junior college transfer Kedranea’ Addison (5-8, G, New Orleans, La./Cox HS/Cowley [Kan.] College), and Div. I senior transfer Amelia Motz (5-11, F, Canton, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary HS/Iona).
The Seawolves lose four seniors – all starters – from last year’s team that went 30-3 overall, reached the NCAA ‘Sweet’ 16 and finished No. 7 in the WBCA Div. II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
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