The LSU women’s basketball team has signed Akilah Bethel and Ann Jones, two Division I college transfers who will be eligible to compete for the Lady Tigers during the 2014-15 season, coach Nikki Caldwell announced Wednesday.
Bethel, a 6-foot guard, played her freshman and sophomore seasons at West Virginia. Jones, a 6-3 forward, played at Memphis as a freshman and sophomore.
Because of NCAA transfer rules, Bethel and Jones will sit out the 2013-14 season and be redshirt juniors eligible to play during the 2014-15 season. Both will be allowed to practice with the Lady Tigers next season.
“Akilah Bethel and Ann Jones bring us experience and size,” Caldwell said.
“We are excited about them joining our team. Both are versatile players who fit in nicely with what we are trying to accomplish here.”
Bethel played in 41 games at West Virginia, averaging 3.5 points per game. This past season, the Baltimore native played in 17 games and averaged 3.0 points before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Baylor on Jan. 19.
Jones played in 27 games with six starts and averaged 4.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game last season with Memphis. As a freshman, she was twice named Conference USA Freshman of the Week and averaged 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per contest.
A native of Jackson, Tenn., Jones was ranked one of the top 45 power forwards in high school by ESPN Hoop Gurlz.
BRYAN, SIMPSON WIN REGIONAL AWARDS: Assistant coach Danny Bryan and sophomore Chris Simpson have been honored by the ITA with regional awards for the Southern Region. Bryan was named the Assistant Coach of the Year and Simpson a Player to Watch.
“These are well-deserved awards,” coach Jeff Brown said. “These awards are voted on by coaches that get to see these guys in action. Danny Bryan is a great coach and is very motivated and very determined to get results. Chris Simpson is certainly a ‘player to watch’ as the award says, and he has been rising steadily through the rankings.”
In his fifth year as an assistant coach for LSU, Bryan has helped guide the Tigers to a 16-12 record for the 2013 dual match season. The Tigers are ranked No. 20 nationionally and qualified for the NCAA Team Championships where they advanced to the second round.
A native of Derby, England, Simpson went 12-13 in singles and 9-9 in doubles. Named to the All-SEC second team, Simpson beat eight ranked opponents in singles, including a dramatic three-set match-clincher over then-No. 3 Mikelis Libietis — the 2013 SEC Player of the Year — of Tennessee. Simpson also def then-No. 15 Evan King of Michigan 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4).
“Chris has had some outstanding wins, including over Evan King, who is the No. 1 seed in the individual singles tournament,” Brown said. “He has led us as a sophomore, so with two more years ahead of him, he is certainly someone to keep an eye on.”
Simpson will compete in the NCAA Singles Championships from May 22-27 in Urbana, Ill., at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center after the NCAA Team Championships.