Pierson, a transfer from Iowa State, must sit out this season under NCAA transfer guidelines while Morrison, a 2007 graduate of Dartmouth College, is eligible immediately and is enrolled at DePaul as a graduate student.
"Rachel Pierson and Elise Morrison were both of the more highly recruited post players in the country coming out of two of the most prestigious prep programs and having played for two of the best high school coaches in the country," said Bruno. "Rachel Pierson played for Dan Rolfes at St. Louis' Incarnate Word Academy while Elise Morrison competed for Frank Orlando at Country Day in Detroit."
Pierson, a 6-3 center, was a medical redshirt at Iowa State during the 2005-06 season before playing in all 35 games last season. She started seven times and averaged 15.7 minutes per game with 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest. Pierson picked up Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors in December after totaling 18 points and nine rebounds in a win over Northern Iowa. The 2005 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year will be reunited with high school teammate, and current DePaul forward, Felicia Chester. The duo played at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis where Pierson was a two-time Missouri Player of the Year pick by the coaches association. Pierson picked up All-America honors twice from Street and Smith and averaged 15.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a senior while shooting 58 percent from the floor. Coming out of high school, she was ranked No. 74 by the All-Star Girls Report and No. 83 on the Blue Star Index list of top 100 players. After sitting out the 2007-08 season under NCAA transfer rules, Pierson will have two seasons of eligibility at DePaul.
"Rachel Pierson was well on her way to becoming one of the mainstays in the post for an Iowa State program that is always one of the best programs in the country and helped Iowa State earn a second-round appearance in last year's NCAA Tournament," said Bruno. "At 6'3", Rachel will give us a great inside post presence, in the tradition of the recently graduated, three-time All-American Khara Smith. Rachel is a physical and versatile post player that can play both with her back to the basket as well as facing the hoop."
Morrison, a 6-4 center, has two seasons of eligibility starting this season. The 2004 Ivy League Freshman of the Year record 16 double-doubles in two seasons at Dartmouth. She missed the entire 2006-07 season and played just three games in 2005-06 due to injuries. As a sophomore, Morrison averaged 15.8 points and 8.7 rebounds while picking up first team All-Ivy honors. She finished her Dartmouth career ranked among all-time leaders with 882 points, 427 rebounds and 112 blocked shots in just 53 career games. She was named the Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year after leading Detroit Country Day to a 26-1 record and state title. Morrison was ranked No. 28 as a senior by the All-Star Girls Report and No. 48 by the Blue Star Index. Her sister, Suzanne, also played at DePaul during the 2005-06 season while enrolled as a graduate student.
"Having graduated and competed for two years at Dartmouth in the Ivy League, Elise brings a great post experience to our team this season and next. With our rash of injuries last season, we played most of last season with only one inside post player," said Bruno. "With the addition of a healthy 6'4" Elise Morrison, we go into this season with six eligible post players. If Elise competes with the renewed sense of urgency that characterized her early Dartmouth years, she has a chance to make an impact on both our team and in the BIG EAST this season."
The Blue Demons return nine players from last season and welcome a pair of transfers that sat out the 2006-07 campaign. DePaul brings back 83 percent of the scoring from a year ago and 86 percent of the rebounding, including the top two scorers and rebounders in 2006-07. Allie Quigley averaged 15.8 points followed by Caprice Smith with 15.3 points per game. Smith is the top returning rebounded with 8.5 rebounds per game followed by Erin Carney's 7.6 rebounds per contest last season.
DePaul opens the season on Nov. 10 at Southern Illinois before hosting Florida International and Florida State in the DePaul Invitational, Nov. 15-17. For season ticket information and the chance to see the Blue Demons play Connecticut, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Notre Dame, call (773) 325-SLAM.
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