Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney women's basketball coach Kevin Chaney announced today that DeAnna Moore, Taylor Neilson, Mariam Ridgwell (pronounced mare-ree-um) and Javona Wynne (pronounced jay-vawna) will be joining the Lopers next season.
Previously, Grand Island Northwest standout McKenize Brown signed on with UNK. The Lopers had three seniors on last year's team in guards Nicole Arp and Sarah Hix and forward Shelby Zimmerman.
"We're very excited about this class and the talent we have brought in," said Chaney.
A 6-3 post, Moore (Muskgoee, Okla.) has two years of eligibility remaining after being a Division I Prairie View A & M (Texas) and Coffeyville (Kans.) C.C.
For the CCC Ravens this past year, she averaged 5.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 56% from the field. Moore, a three-year varsity team member at Muskogee High, averaged 2.0 blocks per game in her prep career and helped the Roughers reach the Class 6A Regional Tournament as a junior.
"DeAnna is very athletic and mobile for her size, which will help us in the MIAA. She can score inside and out, loves to compete day in and day out, and has a great attitude and sense of humor. Her experience at the DI level and in the Jayhawk Conference will help her transition into arguably the toughest D2 conferences in women's basketball," said Chaney.
Wynne, a 5-2 point guard, also has two years of eligibility remaining after playing for the Central C.C. Raiders in Columbus.
An Omaha North High graduate, she was the only Raider to start all 31 games this past winter, averaging 9.5 points, 2.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds a contest to earn Division II all-region honors. Shooting 45% from the field and 39% from the three point line, she helped Central go 16-1 at home to post a 19-13 overall mark.
At North, she earned honorable mention all-state and all-Metro honors as a senior and played in the 2012 Boys & Girls Club Metro All-Star game.
"Javona is a strong and quick point guard who is one of the toughest competitors I have seen in quite a while. Her resiliency on the floor is admirable because of the physical and finesse game she can play," said Chaney.
Ridgwell (6-0) has one season left after being a reserve at Division II Southern Arkansas last winter. She previously was at Mesa C.C. in Arizona.
The Boise, Idaho, native averaged 6.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game for a Mulerider team that posted a 12-15 record in 2014. Starting eight times, she shot a team-best 52% from the floor.
A southpaw, Ridgwell was at 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for a 27-7 Mesa squad that reached the 2013 NJCAA Division II national championship. At Mountain View High, she was a two-year letterwinner who averaged 10 points and 5.7 rebounds as a senior to help the Mavericks reach the Idaho state tournament.
"Mariam has that competitive nature about her that you don't see much these days. She wants to win and be challenged and that'll make a great teammate," said Chaney. "She caught my attention at the national tournament in 2013 by outrebounding bigger opponents, making pressure shots, and competing consistently at the highest level."
Finally, Neilson comes to UNK from Meeker High School in Northwestern Colorado. A 5-6 guard, she had career averages of 12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game. She graduated earlier this month as Class Valedictorian.
Averaging double figures each of the last three years, Neilson helped the Cowgirls go 23-3 this past winter to finish third in Class 2A. Subsequently, she was named honorable mention all-state.
"Taylor is a great shooter and a great student and, after getting to know her throughout the recruiting process, a fantastic person. She will fit it in well with our young women," said Chaney.
UNK returns two of its top three scorers off last year's squad that reached the MIAA Tournament.