Lions Sign Four to NLI for 2011-12

Nov. 11, 2010

LOS ANGELES - LMU women's basketball has signed four players to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period, Head Coach Julie Wilhoit announced Wednesday. The Lions will be bringing in a pair of guards, Danielle Pruitt and Taylor Anderson, and a pair of forwards, Ashley Lovett and Emily Ben-Jumbo, for the 2011-12 season.





"We were focusing on speed, power and offensive prowess in this class and we believe we captured that and more in these four young women," Wilhoit said. "We are most excited because we have recruited them all for a long time and have gotten to know them and their families well. We could not be any happier with this class."

In the backcourt, LMU welcomes two local players in Danielle Pruitt of View Park Prep in Los Angeles and Taylor Anderson of Bonita High School in La Verne. Pruitt, a 5-8 combo guard, averaged 16 points, seven rebounds, and three assists per game as a junior as she earned Division IV All-State honors. A First Team All-City selection in each of the last two seasons and the Coliseum League Most Valuable Player last year, Pruitt put up a triple-double during the city playoffs last season. Pruitt should add some speed to the Lion backcourt, having won the 100m dash in her league finals. Pruitt is already familiar with her future Lion teammates as she played alongside current Lion freshmen Hazel Ramirez and Alexis Love on the Cal Sparks club team. Keen-eyed fans will also recognize that she is the younger sister of former USC standout and Boston Celtic Gabe Pruitt.

"Dani's speed, quickness and athleticism fits so well in our system," Wilhoit said. "Her tenacity on the defensive end is impressive and she will add even more speed on the perimeter for us next year."

Joining Pruitt in the backcourt will be Anderson, who was a First Team All-CIF Division 3A selection as a junior. The 5-11 Anderson averaged 11.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, and 2.0 bpg in leading Bonita High School to the CIF 3A semifinals. She is a two-time All-Miramonte League player and was named to the All-San Gabriel Valley Tribune First Team last season.

"Taylor brings tremendous length and size to the wing spot to go along with the many ways in which she is able to score," Wilhoit said. Her offensive ability will fit well with our style of play and we believe she will continue to develop into a versatile scoring guard."

LMU's frontcourt will get a boost from a pair of six-footers in Ashley Lovett and Emily Ben-Jumbo. Lovett, a 6-0 small forward from Murrieta, is currently the 36th-ranked forward in the country by Lovett averaged a double-double of 14 ppg and 10 rpg, to go along with two spg for Vista Murrieta High School in earning First Team All-Southwestern League and First Team All-Valley honors. Lovett is also an excellent student, having won First Team All-Academic honors from the Southwestern League. Lovett is another product of Cal Sparks, one of the top club teams in California.

"Although Ashley is listed as a forward, it is her ability to step out and play on the wing that caught our attention," Wilhoit said. "She can be a powerful presence inside but also hit the perimeter shot. Ashley will be a versatile inside out player in our program."

Rounding out LMU's early signees is Ben-Jumbo, a 6-1 power forward from Tualatin, Oregon. Ben-Jumbo registered 13 ppg and eight rpg as a junior and is currently ranked as the 120th forward in the country by A First Team All-Pacific Conference and Honorable Mention All-State selection, Ben-Jumbo was named one of the strongest players in Oregon by SLAM Magazine.

"Emily brings strength, power and a big rebounding presence inside," Wilhoit said. "Her work ethic, desire to learn, and drive to become the best are many attributes that attracted us to her. Emily can become a dominant post presence in the WCC."

LMU will open the 2010-11 season this Friday at Idaho State and play its home opener against Long Beach State on Monday at 7 p.m.




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