Nov. 13, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - University of Minnesota women's basketball head coach Pam Borton has announced the addition of five high school standouts from three states, who have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their careers with the Golden Gophers.
The highly-regarded class includes forward Rangie Bessard (Rosharon, Texas/Manvel HS); center Josie Buckingham (New Richmond, Ohio/New Richmond HS); guard Grace Coughlin (Edina, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret's School); guard/forward Tory Jacobs (Irving, Texas/MacArthur HS); and guard Carlie Wagner (New Richland, Minn./New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva HS).
"We are very excited to be signing our 2014 recruiting class," Borton said. "It's a talented class, with players from Minnesota, Texas and Ohio. This is a great class, not because of the numbers, but because of the quality of people, the quality of students and the types of basketball players that they all are."
The highest-ranked player in the signing class is Wagner, a 5-foot-10 guard who has rewritten the record books at NRHEG and is a leading candidate for Minnesota's Miss Basketball and various other player of the year awards. Among the evaluations, espnW HoopGurlz gives Wagner a four-star rating and a grade of 95 and lists her 54th among its Top 100 players in the nation, including ninth among point guards.
Wagner led her team to the 2013 Minnesota Class AA state title, establishing new state tournament records for single-game scoring (50), tournament scoring (129 pts., 43.0 ppg), most field goals made (tie, 21) and attempted (43) in a game, and most overall field goals made (48) and attempted (110) in a tournament.
Jacobs is the second-highest ranked player in the class, as espnW HoopGurlz gives her a three-star rating and a grade of 90, while listing her 18th nationally among off-guards. She was an All-State selection and district MVP as a junior, and she has averaged 21.3 points and 4.0 assists per game during her high school career.
Jacobs helped MacArthur HS win a state championship as a freshman, and she led the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area in scoring with 691 points during her junior season, helping MacArthur to a record of 24-9.
Bessard plays for a powerhouse team at Manvel High School in the Houston area, where she averaged 13.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game as a junior. She led her region in rebounding and earned all-region and First Team All-District accolades during a 33-4 season for the Mavs.
A 6-foot forward, Bessard combined to score more than 1,000 points between her sophomore and junior seasons, and she became the first freshman to ever make the starting lineup at Lamar High School, where she played her first two seasons.
Buckingham is an athletic center who will give the Gophers a second 6-foot-5 option in the post to go along with Amanda Zahui B. As a junior, Buckingham averaged 20.9 points, 13.6 rebounds and 6.1 blocked shots per game, earning Honorable Mention All-State, First Team All-District and First Team All-Southern Buckeye Conference honors.
Last season, Buckingham established new school single-game records for points (42), rebounds (26) and blocked shots (17). The single-game scoring mark she broke had been held since 1976-77 by her mom, Liz. Buckingham also surpassed 1,000 career points during her junior season.
Coughlin is an All-State guard at Benilde-St. Margaret's, where she's a three-year starter and three-year team captain. As a junior, she averaged 19.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. An AAU teammate of Carlie Wagner, Coughlin helped lead BSM to the state tournament as a freshman, earning a spot on the All-State Tournament Team.
She gave Minnesota a verbal commitment prior to her sophomore season, and she was an Honorable Mention All-State selection that year. Coughlin has twice been named all-conference, and she has led BSM to a pair of conference championships.
Blue Star Basketball has Minnesota's signing class ranked 23rd nationally, with Coughlin ranked 89th, Wagner at No. 100, Buckingham at No. 172, Jacobs at No. 179 and Bessard at No. 260.
"Obviously, the coaches have had to do some extensive recruiting to build a class of this size," Dan Olson of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and espnW HoopGurlz said. "An important element at any time is to have depth, and this class addresses that. They (Coach Borton and her staff) have built a solid class that is in the thick of the Big Ten."
Minnesota's five signees will be eligible beginning with the 2014-15 season.
--Michael Molde, Athletic Communications Assistant
More Information on Minnesota's Signing Class
Rangie Bessard: Story | Official Release | Fact Sheet | Borton Video | Loyd Video
Josie Buckingham: Story | Official Release | Fact Sheet | Borton Video | Riverso Video
Grace Coughlin: Story | Official Release | Fact Sheet | Borton Video | Roysland Video
Tory Jacobs: Story | Official Release | Fact Sheet | Borton Video | Loyd Video
Carlie Wagner: Story | Official Release | Fact Sheet | Borton Video | Roysland Video
Complete Signing Day Class
Palma Kaposi Signs with Gophers
The forward from Hungary will have three years of eligibility starting in 2016-17.
Banham Named B1G Athlete of the Year
The senior guard was chosen from nominees representing all 14 conference schools.
Mable, Banham NCAA Woman of the Year Nominees
Minnesota's two nominees will be in consideration for the award's 26th presentation since its inception.