New University of Lethbridge Pronghorns head Erin McAleenan is putting her stamp on the women's basketball program. On Thursday, McAleenan announced the addition of four new recruits, a returning player and a new associate coach.Erin Skippon, Natalie Tollestrup, Lauren Tolley and Karen Li have all agreed to join the 'Horns, while Kara Henry returns for her fifth year with the program and Claire Meadows is the team's new associate coach.
Skippon played four seasons with the Queen's Gaels in Ontario University Atheltics and joins the 'Horns after taking the past two years off from basketball after graduating from Queen's University. In her final season with the Gaels', the 6'0" post from Kelowna, B.C. averaged just under 11 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
"Erin brings great experience, work ethic, and maturity to our team during a transition year," says McAleenan. "I am thrilled that Erin has chosen to play her fifth year with the Horns and I look forward to seeing her toughness in the post this season."
Raymond, Alta. product Natalie Tollestrup joins the 'Horns after playing the second half of last season with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks. Prior to playing with the Kodiaks, Tollestrup was a member of the highly successful Raymond Comets program, and as a senior during the 2009-10 season, she averaged just over 13 points per game.
Another ACAC product, Lauren Tolley transfers to the U of L after taking last season off. She last played for the SAIT Trojans during the 2010-11 season and is a graduate of Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School in Calgary.
"Lauren's ability to shoot the ball separates herself from others at her position," says McAleenan. "We are looking forward to having someone with her length on the perimeter this season."
The only true freshman of the recruiting class is Karen Li, who comes to the 'Horns from Vancouver's Britannia Secondary School. The 5'4" point guard led her high school team to a AA BC Provincial title last season and was named the most valuable player of the provincials in the process. During her senior season, Li averaged 12 points and 7 assists per game.
"We are really excited that Karen has chosen to be a part of the Pronghorn family for her CIS career," says McAleenan. "Karen is not only a quick, athletic point guard; she is also a very good leader on the court. "
Guard Kara Henry returns to the program after a year away from the game.
"Kara brings great experience, work ethic and competitiveness to this young team and it is great to have her back to finish her fifth year as a Horn," says McAleenan. "Kara's versatility on the court will really help our team this season."
In addition to the announcement of her first recruits for next season, McAleenan has added a full-time assistant coach in Claire Meadows. Meadows spent the 2011-12 season coaching alongside McAleenan as an assistant coach with the University of Alberta Pandas.
Meadows also spent time as an assistant coach with the Queen's Gaels. She also played five seasons with the Gaels where she earned her bachelor of arts (physical health education) and bachelor of education degrees.
She will officially become a member of the Pronghorn family in late August after completing her master's of education in coaching from the University of Victoria.
The 'Horns will kick off the 2012-13 Canada West season Nov. 2 at the 1st Choice Savings Centre by hosting the University of Winnipeg.