Huskers Add Junior College All-American
Lincoln - Nebraska Coach Connie Yori announced the addition of a seventh newcomer to the Huskers' 2014-15 women's basketball roster with the signing of junior college All-America forward/center Anya Kalenta on Tuesday.
Kalenta, a 6-3 sophomore forward/center at Vincennes University in 2013-14, captured third-team NJCAA All-America honors after leading the Trailblazers with team-best averages of 20.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. Her scoring average ranked 13th in NJCAA, while her rebounding average ranked 22nd. Her 62 blocks also ranked 20th nationally.
The native of Minsk, Belarus also contributed 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals per contest for Coach and Athletic Director Harry Meeks' squad. Kalenta hit 51.1 percent of her shots from the field, including 41 percent of her three-pointers for the Vincennes, Ind., school, which finished with a 23-7 overall record. She hit 32 three-pointers on the year.
A consistent performer, Kalenta scored in double figures in 29 of VU's 30 games in 2013-14, while producing 19 double-doubles. She had a season-high of 33 points, while adding 25 points and 21 rebounds in a Dec. 29, 2013 win over Malcolm X.
"I'm excited that we were able to add Anya to our roster," Yori said. "I really like her. Not just as a player, but as a person. She can definitely help us at forward with her ability to score and rebound, and she will give us some depth at a position where we needed it. I also really love her personality. She has a great sense of humor, and I think she will fit in well with our current players."
Kalenta spent her freshman season at Broward (Fla.) College, where she averaged 9.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. She also competed for the Republic of Belarus at the Under-20 European Championships, where she averaged 6.2 points and 6.1 boards per game.
The 20-year-old Kalenta joins a 2014-15 class of newcomers that was ranked as the No. 9 incoming class in the nation during the fall. She is the only junior in the group, which features six freshmen. One of the nation's top point guards, Natalie Romeo from the Bay Area in California headlines the class, along with two-time Tennessee Class 2-AA Player-of-the-Year Jasmine Cincore.
All-Washington guard Chandler Smith and Kansas guard Emily Wood give the Big Red four new additions to the backcourt. Kansas Player-of-the-Year Kaylee Page, a 6-2 forward, and California prep standout Darrien Washington, another 6-2 forward, will join Kalenta as newcomers to NU's front line.
Nebraska's seven newcomers replace just one senior, first-team All-American Jordan Hooper, on NU's roster from the 2013-14 campaign when the Huskers finished 26-7 overall, 12-4 in the Big Ten and claimed the conference tournament title. Nebraska finished No. 13 nationally in the AP Poll and No. 17 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25.
Hooper was the Big Ten Player of the Year after averaging 20.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, while closing her career as one of only two players in Big Ten history to achieve the combined milestones of 2,300 points and 1,100 rebounds. She was the No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft by the Tulsa Shock.
The Big Red returns second-team All-Big Ten forward Emily Cady and Big Ten All-Defensive selection Hailie Sample to the front court in 2014-15. The seniors-to-be have started 100 games alongside each other while leading Nebraska to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Sophomore-to-be Allie Havers, a 6-5 center, played in every game for the Huskers in 2013-14, including a 17-point performance in the Big Ten semifinal win over No. 19 Michigan State.
While the three new forwards will try to help fill the void left by Hooper, the four new guards will join All-American and Big Ten Tournament MVP Rachel Theriot, along with second-team All-Big Ten guard Tear'a Laudermill in the backcourt. NU also returns senior guard Brandi Jeffery and sophomore Esther Ramacieri. Two 2013-14 Huskers, sophomore Sadie Murren and freshman Hannah Tvrdy elected to transfer from Nebraska following the season.
The Huskers are expected to enter Yori's 13th season at Nebraska with a 14-player roster in pursuit of NU's fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.