PASADENA, Calif. (July 28, 2016) – The Caltech women's basketball team adds four incoming freshmen to its roster ahead of the 2016-17 season.
The class includes:
"This class gives us the depth in both the guard and post positions we need to take the next step," Head Coach Sandra Marbut said. "We have multiple guards capable of handling the ball, and multiple posts who can grab rebounds and score for us. A year ago, there weren't subs to give someone a rest and we had to battle fatigue. With a little more depth, we have fresh players to rotate in and keep applying more pressure from start to finish."
San Jose, Calif. / St. Francis H.S.
D'Costa led her high school team to improve its finish in CIF-Central Coast Section Division II each of the last three years, going from Nor-Cal champions in 2013 to tournament runners-up in 2014 and finally claiming the title in 2015. She was named to the Kelly Shea Gallo All-Tournament Team.
"Sam is a scrapper and generally just a tough player" Marbut said. "She has a great pull-up jumper and is developing her mid-range game, which is something we need. We expect her to come in and be competitive for big minutes and a contributor from day one."
Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon H.S.
Lauinger showed quick progression throughout her high school career, earning the Most Improved and Most Valuable Player awards for her team as a junior and senior. She will also likely be a three-sport student-athlete for the Beavers as a member of the volleyball, basketball and track & field teams.
"Alexa is a strong defender and rebounder who will bring some great physicality to the paint for us," Marbut said. "She is the type of player who will be able to hold her own immediately in the bigger, stronger college game, and as we work to develop her scoring, she will have a chance to make a contribution in her first year. Alexa adds very solid depth to the post game and is the only real power forward on the roster."
Shanghai, China / Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ. (BASIS Tucson)
Li is a China National Level 2 Athlete who was team captain at her U.S. school (BASIS Tucson), helping it to claim second place in the Southern Arizona Charter School League.
"Jenny is just beginning her learning curve," Marbut said. "As an exchange student from China at BASIS, she was able to help lead their brand-new team by scoring 15 points per game and shooting 50 percent from the floor. While she is young in her game, we expect her to make big strides and grow into a solid contributor quickly. She adds another shooter from long range, bringing a three-point shot and one more ballhandler to help with the press and give us depth," Marbut said.
San Ramon, Calif. / California H.S.
5-2, Point Guard
Peng is a four-time East Bay Athletic All-League selection, including First Team honors in each of her last two years.
"Grace is a play-making point guard we are excited about," Marbut said. "She distributes the ball so well and can get to the interior of defenses quickly to find people shots. She is a true point guard with some serious court vision."
This group of four will join six returning players to form the team's largest squad since 2013. Although the Beavers must contend with the loss of the program's all-time leading scorer in Stephanie Wong to graduation, Caltech still has elite senior leadership returning in Kate Lewis (San Antonio, Texas / Ronald Reagan), an All-SCIAC selection in 2014-15 and the program's career double-doubles leader, and Michelle Wong (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. / Palos Verdes Peninsula), who has improved each of her points, assists and steals per game each season of her career. Marbut's squad set multiple program records last season, including field goal percentage and three-pointers made in a season.
"All four incoming freshmen will be on the court playing and learning from the get-go," Marbut said. "They are all going to need to come and contribute in their first year, yet they won't have to stay on the floor the entire time, which is a step forward for us from the 15-16 campaign. They aren't just depth – they are quality players capable of adding to our scoring and helping in every other area of the game. All four of these ladies can come in and elevate our program on their first day."