Saint Leo, Fla. (August 14, 2007) – Saint Leo University head women’s basketball coach Chanita Olds has announced the addition of seven players for the 2007-08 season.  A pair of junior transfers highlights the list of incoming players, which also include five true freshmen.

“I am really excited about the group of players we are bringing in for this season and especially our young freshman class,” Olds said. “I think the mix of our returning players and the new signings will give us a solid foundation for a strong season.  Our returning players have worked hard in the off-season and have hand-picked their new teammates.  I believe we will be a much improved team in 2007-08 and will continue to improve for years to come.”

Sabrina Schmitt, a 6’2” forward from Tampa, Fla. (Hillsborough High School) transfers to Saint Leo after beginning her career at Florida Community College of Jacksonville, and playing her sophomore year at the University of North Florida.  Meanwhile, Nichole Tyler joins the Lions after becoming the all-time leading scorer at Alfred State College with 917 points in two seasons.  In total Tyler, a 5’9” guard, finished with 26 double-doubles in two seasons with the Lady Pioneers.

Highlighting the freshmen signings are a pair of local standouts-Lauren Lee from Clearwater High School and Joanna Bussa from Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Fla.  Lee, a 5’9” forward, was Co-MVP on the Clearwater High team that was the runner-up in the 2007 Class 5A State Championship game.  She was a St. Petersburg Times First Team All-County selection and a First Team All-County North choice.  Meanwhile, Bussa was a Pasco Tribune First Team selection last year after averaging 10.3 points, 3.1 assists and 2.4 steals per game.

Other signings include guards Whitley Washington from Gainesville Eastside High in Gainesville, Fla., Caitlind Cooper from Concord High School in Concord, N.H. and Kiara Bradley from Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, Fla.

2007-08 SAINT LEO WOMEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNINGS

SABRINA SCHMITT
6’2”, Junior, Forward
Tampa, Fla./University of North Florida

KIARA BRADLEY
5’4”, Freshman, Guard
Hawthorne, Fla./Hawthorne HS

CAITLIND COOPER
5’6”, Freshman, Guard
Concord, N.H./Concord HS

WHITLEY WASHINGTON
5’6”, Freshman, Guard
Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville Eastside HS

LAUREN LEE
5’10”, Freshman, Forward
Clearwater, Fla./Clearwater HS

NICHOLE TYLER
5’9”, Junior Guard
Van Etten, N.Y./Alfred State College

JOANNA BUSSA
5’5”, Freshman, Guard
New Port Richey, Fla./Mitchell HS

The incoming class will join seven returning players from the 2006-07 season, including seniors Amanda Holloway (West Palm Beach, Fla.), Latasha Lawrence (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Roni Carithers (Tampa, Fla.).  The Lions went 6-22 a year ago and were 3-13 in the Sunshine State Conference.

Saint Leo will open its 2007-08 season at home with back-to-back games against Puerto Rican opposition.  The Lions will face the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras on Friday, November 16 before facing Puerto Rico-Bayamon on Saturday, November 17 as part of the 2007 Sleep Inn Classic.