Nov. 13, 2013
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon announced Wednesday that the Lady Techster basketball program has signed four high school prep stars to national letters of intent on day No. 1 of the early signing period.
LA Tech received signed NLI's from guards Daja Chase (Monroe, La./Ouachita HS), Tiffany Murdock (Malvern, Ark./Malvern HS) and Candice Williams (Atlanta, Ga./St. Francis HS) and forward Tiara Davenport (Duncanville, Texas/Duncanville HS).
"We had to get better on the perimeter, and we need an inside presence as well," Weatherspoon said. "We took a look at what we are losing or missing and what we needed to bring it. We think we did a good job of getting some top caliber kids to come in here and fill some holes. We feel like our class is probably one of the best we've had in a while. Every one of them are impact players and are strong academically. Those things were big as we were recruiting those young ladies."
Chase is a 5-foot-9-inch shooting guard who played her freshman year at Ouachita High School, her sophomore and junior years at Lakeview Centennial High School in Garland, Texas and now returns to Ouachita for her upcoming senior season.
"We had an opportunity to see her at our camp," Weatherspoon said. "She is an explosive player. She shoots it well. She rebounds well. She is a Louisiana kid and it's important to keep those at home. She is an explosive kid that we needed on the perimeter. She defends well and is a good rebounding guard. She is very versatile. She is not afraid to bring the ball up and create for others."
As a freshman at Ouachita, Chase was named honorable mention all-district for head coach John Merritt's Lady Lions. During her two years at Lakeview Centennial, she was a two-time all-district selection while earning the Newcomer of the Year award as a sophomore and the co-Defensive Player of the Year award as a junior. Chase averaged 18.1 points per game during her junior season.
"I chose Louisiana Tech because it is a school with a lot of tradition and a great atmosphere," Chase said. "Tech has strong academic programs. I'm looking forward to playing for coach Weatherspoon and the entire staff and helping (LA Tech) become an elite program again."
Murdock is a 5-foot-8-inch shooting guard who has lettered for coach Jess Martin at Malvern High School in Arkansas for the past three years.
"Tiffany is such a strong kid," Weatherspoon said. "Her dad brought her down to our camp so we could have a chance to see her. Our program meant so much to them. What an amazing player with strength and power to the rim. She is a slasher, and a player with tremendous confidence. Her upside is amazing. She can play the 1, 2 and 3; she has no limitations in her game. She is a complete player at a young age."
Murdock helped lead the Leopards to the District 7-4A title and Arkansas Class 4A title as a junior as she averaged 11.1 points, 6.2 assists and 2.9 steals per game for a deep team that will have four players sign DI scholarships. She was named all-conference the past two seasons as well as to the Arkansas Prep Super Sophomore Team. She was named third team all-Arkansas by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette as a junior.
"I believe in Coach Weatherspoon and Louisiana Tech," said Murdock, who is ranked No. 153 in the country by Bret McCormick's All-Star Girls Report. "I feel she and the school will make me a better player. LA Tech is just the right fit; not too large, not too small. It has a lot to offer in terms of education. It will allow me to set my goals and achieve my dreams while pursuing my degree."
Williams is a 5-foot-6-inch point guard who lettered her freshman year at Fayette County and her sophomore and junior seasons at St. Francis High School in Atlanta, Georgia.
"Candice is a playmaker that has amazing mind," Weatherspoon said. "She is very mature. She is simply a winner. She wants to learn and to know this game. She wants to know the ins and the outs of it. She wants to make everyone around her better. She can turn the game around herself. She is all about team. She is a coach's dream."
Williams is ranked in numerous recruiting services, including No. 170 in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz and No. 175 by Premier Basketball Report. As a freshman, she led Fayette County to the state championship title. This past season, Williams averaged 12.0 points and 6.1 assists per game while leading coach Aisha Kennedy and St. Francis to a 28-8 record and the Georgia Class A state title. She was named first team all-region the past two years.
"I chose Louisiana Tech because of the family atmosphere and the supportive people on the campus," Williams said. "Louisiana Tech is also not too far from home, but it is far enough to where I still can get the college experience. I also love the diversity of people throughout the school."
Davenport is a 6-foot forward who has succeeded at a trio of high schools in the state of Texas during her prep career.
"Tiara is a versatile big," Weatherspoon said. "She can play the 4 or the 5. She can guard almost any position. She has that Whitney Frazier feel to her. She provides power in the paint, and she can face up and get to the rim. She can put the ball on the floor. She passes well and finds people. She defends well and provides us some things we need in the painted area. She demands the ball in the painted area."
After playing on the junior varsity as a freshman at Duncanville High School, Davenport played at Triple A Academy in Dallas as a sophomore where she averaged 18 points per game and led the team in rebounding. As a junior, she was named first team all-district and the district Defensive Player of the Year while averaging 17.2 points and 12.0 rebounds at Johnson High School in San Antonio. She has returned to Duncanville for her senior season.
Davenport is ranked No. 122 overall by Premier Basketball Report, No. 147 overall by Jump Off Plus Report, No. 180 overall by Bret McCormick's All-Star Girls Report and No. 186 overall by Dan Olson's Girls Basketball Report.
"I chose Louisiana Tech because I fell in love with the atmosphere and the support system from the coaches," Davenport said. "The team and coaches are very family orientated and that was one thing I was looking for in a school. I feel that I will make an impact for the Lady Techsters and playing for Coach Weatherspoon will be awesome. I know she will push me the best player I can be."
Weatherspoon said that LA Tech could add one or two more signees either in the early period or during the late period in April.
Guard * 5-9
Monroe, La. (Ouachita HS)
High School: Lettered for coach John Merritt at Ouachita High School in Monroe, La. as a freshman and senior and for coach Carlisa Dixon at Lakeview Centennial High School in Garland, Texas in sophomore and junior ... Named honorable mention all-district as freshman at Ouachita ... Two-time all-district selection at Lakeview Centennial where she was named the district Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore and the district co-Defensive Player of the Year as a junior ... Named to the Texas all-region team ... Averaged 18.1 points per game as a junior ... Plays AAU basketball for Urban Elite 2012 (Dallas) and Louisiana Lightning in 2013 (Shreveport) ... Personal: Full name is Daja M Chase ... Daughter of Kevin Chase and Yakita Johnson ... Has one brother, Tre'Zayvon ... Born Aug. 8, 1996 in Monroe, La.
Forward * 6-0
Duncanville, Texas (Duncanville HS)
High School: Played on the JV as a freshman at Duncanville High School before playing the past two years on varsity teams at other schools ... As a sophomore she lettered at Triple A Academy in Dallas where she averaged 18.0 points per game and led the team in rebounding ... As a junior she attended Johnson High School in San Antonio where she averaged 17.2 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game ... She was named first team all-district and was voted the district Defensive Player of the Year ... She will play for coach Cathy Self-Morgan at Duncanville High School in Texas this season ... Ranked No. 122 overall by Premier Basketball Report ... Ranked No. 147 overall by Jump Off Plus Report ... Ranked No. 180 overall by Bret McCormick's All-Star Girls Report ... Ranked No. 186 overall by Dan Olson's Girls Basketball Report ... She is a member of the National Honor Society ... Played AAU basketball for Cy-Fair ... Personal: Full name is Tiara Lasha Davenport ... Daughter of Niki Alexander and Raymond and Holly Davenport ... Has two sisters, Haley and Tiana ... Born Feb. 7, 1996 in Dallas, Texas.
Malvern, Ark. (Malvern HS)
High School: Lettered three years for coach Jess Martin at Malvern High School in Arkansas ... Helped lead the Leopards to the District 7-4A championship in 2013 as well as the Arkansas Class 4A state championship title with a 32-2 record ... Also led Malvern to the Region 7 South Championship ... As a sophomore led team to the Final Four in the Arkansas state tournament ... Named to the all-state tournament team as a junior ... Named first team all-conference as a sophomore and junior and all-Arkansas Prep Super Sophomore Team ... Named third team all-Arkansas by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette as a junior ... Averaged 11.1 points, 6.2 assists, 2.9 steals per game as a junior ... Ranked No. 153 in the country by Bret McCormick's All-Star Girls Report ... Also lettered in softball, volleyball and tennis ... Was a three-time all-conference and two-time all-district selection in softball ... Plays AAU basketball for Gene Alexander and the Arkansas Lady Hawks ... Personal: Full name is Tiffany Camille Murdock ... Daughter of Wesley and Carla Murdock ... Has two sisters, Olivia and Shamie, and one brother, Wesley Jr. ... Born Feb. 26, 1996 in Malvern, Ark.
Guard * 5-6
Atlanta, Ga. (St. Francis HS)
High School: Lettered for two years for coach Aisha Kennedy at St. Francis High School and lettered at Fayette County as a freshman... Led Fayette County to the state championship as a freshman ... Helped lead St. Francis a 28-8 record and the Georgia Class A state title as a junior ... Averaged 12.0 points, 6.1 assists, 3.9 steals and 4.0 rebounds per game as a junior ... Named first team all-region as a sophomore and junior ... Ranked No. 175 overall by Premier Basketball Report ... Ranked No. 170 overall by ESPN HoopGurlz ... Also lettered in volleyball and track and field ... Received number honors in volleyball, including the MVP in 2011 and the Knight of the Round Table Award (character award) in 2012 and 2013 ... Played AAU basketball for coach Kim Powell and Essence ... Personal: Full name is Candice K. Williams ... Daughter of Major Lawrence Williams and Chief Warrant Officer Angela Williams ... Has one sister, Nadia ... Born July 8, 1996 in Mobile, Ala.