Women's Basketball

Fennelly signs five to his 2014 class

The following is a press release courtesy of Iowa State athletics communications. 

AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State women’s basketball program and head coach Bill Fennelly announced Wednesday that five prep standouts have signed their letters of intent. The five players have signed to play for the Cyclones starting in 2014-15. 

“I am proud of the effort of my staff in our recruiting for the 2014 class,” Fennelly said. “As is the case every year we work hard to find young people who understand and embrace the ‘Iowa State Way’ which means they want to make an impact on and off the court while putting them in position for a successful life beyond their time in college.”

Emily Durr, a 5-10 guard from Utica, N.Y., is a three-year letterwinner at Notre Dame High School. She averaged 24.3 points and eight rebounds her junior season. Durr was a highly sought after recruit and is listed as a four-star, top-100 prospect by ESPN.com. Durr also received multiple player of the year nods during her time at Notre Dame H.S. 

“Em is the first player we have ever recruited from N.Y.,” Fennelly said. “She has an old-school game with a variety of offensive skills. Em can play many positions and her versatility and ability to score in many ways will help us a great deal.”

Nakiah Bell, a 5-5 guard from Saint Louis, Mo., is a three-time all-conference selection out of Incarnate Word Academy. Bell is ranked as a top-100 prospect according to ProspectsNation.com and averaged 10.8 points her junior year. She led her team to a perfect 31-0 record last season, which culminated in a district and state championship in Missouri. Bell was named first-team all-state in 2013. 

“Nakiah has been groomed for the next level by playing in one of the best high school programs in the nation,” Fennelly said. “She has all the skill sets you want in a point guard at both ends of the floor. Nakiah has a great basketball IQ and sees the game like you want your point guard to see it.” 

Blaire Thomas, a 5-11 guard out of Waterloo, Iowa, is a two-time all-conference team selection at Waterloo West High School. She was named first-team all-state her junior year and is listed as a three-star prospect by ESPN.com. Thomas averaged 18.5 points for Waterloo West last season.

“Blaire is an outstanding athlete,” Fennelly said. “She has excelled in many sports in high school and we think now that she will be concentrating on basketball she will develop into a player that can play many different positions on the floor.” 

Bryanna Fernstrom, a 6-5 center out of, Fridley Minn., is a two-time all-conference team selection at Chisago Lakes High School. Fernstrom played in 30 games her junior season, averaging 20.0 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. She also holds school records in rebounds (317/season), field-goals made (256/season), field-goals attempted (514/season) and single-game blocks (15). Fernstrom is listed as a three-star prospect by ESPN.com.

“Bry is a physical presence on the block,” Fennelly said. “Her strength and size is something we desperately need moving forward. Bry has a good touch out to the three-point line so we feel she will fit into our style of play very well.”

Claire Ricketts, a 6-3 forward from Grand Prairie, Texas, is a two-time first-team all-state selection from John Paul II High School in Plano, Texas. Ricketts led her team to a 27-11 record her junior season and a 5A state championship. She averaged 16.8 points, 8.7 boards and 2.5 blocks and is a listed as a three-star prospect by ESPN.com.

“Claire is long, athletic and plays hard all the time,” Fennelly said. “She has not played basketball very many years so we feel she has a great upside.  Claire can run the floor and really goes hard to the boards.  Obviously, we need help inside and we like what Claire brings to our team”             

Kiel Moore, a national recruiting analyst for ProspectsNation and director of scouting for JumpOffPlus.com, called this year’s Iowa State class one of the top-25 in the nation.

“Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly and his staff did an excellent job on the recruiting trail this year as they went all over the continental United States to secure a top 25 caliber class nationally,” Moore said. “With their 2014 scholarships, Iowa State was able to land talented student athletes that will fill every need they have on the roster in both the frontcourt and backcourt positions.” 

2014-15 Iowa State Signees

Emily Durr, G, 5-10, Utica, N.Y., Notre Dame HS

Nakiah Bell, G, 5-5, Saint Louis, Mo., Incarnate Word Academy

Blaire Thomas, G, 5-11, Waterloo, Iowa, Waterloo West HS

Bryanna Fernstrom, C, 6-5, Fridley, Minn., Chisago Lakes HS

Claire Ricketts, F, 6-3, Grand Prairie, Texas, John Paul II HS


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