FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University women’s basketball head coach Kate Glusko has announced the addition of six players for the 2011-12 season: 5-7 senior guard Tiara Gause of Fayetteville, N.C., 6-0 senior center Danielle Gibson of Roebuck, S.C., 5-9 junior guard Hattie Harris of Mason, Tenn., 5-7 junior guard Shameka Smith of Centreville, Va., 5-8 junior guard Carmella Thompson of Oklahoma City, Okla., and 6-1 freshman post player Nakesha Whitaker of Bonneau, S.C.
Gause is a transfer from Elon University, where she played three seasons and was the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year in 2009. This past season for the 20-13 Phoenix, she averaged 5.1 points per game in 22 contests.
In her three collegiate seasons, she appeared in 81 contests and averaged 6.9 points and 1.2 steals per game.
Gause was an All-State performer at Westover High School, in addition to helping her school to the 2008 4A state title and earning All-Conference recognition four times.
“Tiara will make an immediate impact in the backcourt and at both ends of the floor,” said Glusko. “She is a good defensive player and has the ability to score in a several ways. She will provide us with veteran leadership.”
Gibson is a transfer from Charleston Southern University, where she played three seasons. This past year, she averaged 1.6 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in 26 games for the Lady Buccaneers. She appeared in 73 contests in three years.
Gibson is a product of Dorman High School, where she garnered All-Region honors and played in several post-season All-Star games. She was a member of the Cavaliers’ 2005 state championship squad.
“Danielle is a solid post player with three years Division I experience. She can rebound and get up and down the floor. She will also provide great leadership, and has shown a determination to make an impact in 2011-12.”
Harris is a transfer from State Fair Community College in Missouri. She helped lead the Lady Roadrunners to a two-year record of 56-11, two Region XVI championship game appearances, and the program’s third NJCAA national tournament appearance, as well as program’s first win at the national tournament.
This past season as team captain, Harris averaged 6.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game, while leading the team in charges taken with 24. As a freshman, she contributed 6.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per contest.
Harris was an All-Region and All-State performer at Fayette-Ware High School.
“Hattie comes from an excellent junior college program. She has good length and will make an impact on the defensive end. She is athletic and explosive, can rebound, and can get to the rim on the offensive end.”
Smith played last season at Colorado Northwestern Community College (9.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.6 apg) and her freshman year at Western Texas College (4.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.9 apg).
Although being a native of Virginia, she graduated from Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas, where as a senior she helped the Panthers to a 17-8 record and a spot in the semifinals of the Class 4A Sunset Region playoffs.
“Shameka will play in the backcourt. She can shoot the three or score off the dribble. She is very athletic and is a hard worker.”
Thompson is a transfer from Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, where she played two seasons. She averaged 6.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.2 steals per game last season for a 20-11 Lady Mavs squad. As a freshman, she averaged 3.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.9 apg, and 2.6 spg.
Thompson is a product of Putnam City High School.
“Carmella will play the point guard position. She is very athletic, will provide immediate experience, and can score in a variety of ways. However, her biggest asset is her ability to create for her teammates and get them involved at the offensive end.”
Whitaker is a graduate of Timberland High School, where she played for coach Cleve Touchberry. She was named to the 2011 S.C. High School Sports Report’s All-State Team after helping lead the Lady Wolves to a 25-2 record and the 2011 Class AA state championship. She scored 15 points in the title game.
“Nakesha possesses fantastic physical size. She is athletic and has all the potential in the world. With the ability to face up at the three-point line and take defenders off the dribble, hit the mid-range jumper, and score in the post, her best is yet to come.”
Francis Marion posted an 18-10 mark this past year and made its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
The six newcomers will join two signees announced during last winter’s early signing period: 6-0 junior forward Daphne Walker of Jacksonville, Fla., and 5-5 freshman guard Jadda (pronounced JAY-da) Jefferies of Burlington, N.C.