Claremore Daily Progress


July 5, 2013

Bentonville's Lee joins JBU women's basketball team

SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. — John Brown University  head women's basketball coach Jeff Soderquist announced today the signing of three players to complete the 2013-14 recruiting cycle.

"I believe this is a very athletic class coming in," noted Soderquist. "Teams only improve in the Sooner Athletic Conference, and with Anna Parrish graduating, we needed to make sure we found ability and speed at the guard position."

Headlining the trio of newcomers is Bentonville native Taylor Lee, a two-time 7A all-state recipient. The 5-foot-8 shooting guard played under head coach Tom Halbamier at Bentonville High School where Lee led the Lady Tigers' program in scoring her final two years. This past season, Lee was chosen to play on the west team in the Arkansas Girl's Basketball All-Star Game.

"Taylor had a great high school career," Soderquist added. "She'll be a wing player for us. We're very excited she chose John Brown."

Lee will look to major in Exercise Studies during her time at JBU. More importantly, it was the draw of the campus and program that solidified her decision.

"I chose JBU because it seemed to fit me the best," said Lee. "Not only is it close to home, but I'll be able to compete at the next level of basketball for me. The campus is beautiful and everyone is very inviting. It is the kind of environment I want to be around for the next four years."

Joining Lee is Columbia native and transfer, Eliana Fernandez. Fernandez, a 5-foot-7 guard, recently finished her second year at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, an NJCAA institution, and helped guide the Lady Norse to a Region II Championship in 2012 while being named Honorable Mention all-region.

"Eliana has a great amount of quickness and talent," said Soderquist. "She can shoot threes but also drives and get others open shots, all while being a fantastic defender."

Fernandez, the daughter of Ivaro Fernandez and Rosa Zambrano, will look to major in International Business while wearing the Blue and Gold and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

"I first heard of JBU from a friend, and I immediately knew going here had a lot of potential," admitted Fernandez. "During my visit, I fell in love with the campus and, of course, with the great International Business program that I was looking for. All of the staff, coaches and players at JBU instantly made me feel comfortable and when I met with the current basketball team, I was certain being a Golden Eagle was the best thing for me. The decision wasn't hard."

Lastly, Bianca Pensy rounds out the recruiting class as the Yaounde, Cameroon native makes her way to Siloam Springs by way of Lighthouse Christian School in Antioch, Tenn. While the 5-foot-8 guard was only able to practice with the boy's team at LCS after her move from Africa, Pensy turned into a dynamic player under the tutelage of head coach Victor Wharton.

"Bianca is a great athlete that will be needed in order to compete day-in and day-out," Soderquist admitted. "She has great upside and the pure athleticism she brings creates tremendous up-side for us."

Pensy, the daughter of Emmanuel Pensy and Salome Aba, will apply her Honor Roll accolades from LCS in pursuit of a degree in Biology during her time at John Brown.

The women's basketball team finished the 2012-13 season with an overall 13-17 mark while nabbing a 7-9 record in SAC play. Despite finishing fifth in the conference, the Golden Eagles upset Oklahoma Baptist in the quarterfinals of the SAC tournament before falling to eventual national quarterfinalist Oklahoma City in the semifinals.

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