Women's Hoops Sign Four To NLIs

The San Jose State women's basketball program has signed four high school seniors to National Letters of Intent for competition beginning in the 2012-13season. Head Coach Tim La Kose made the announcement.

"We knew we needed to get at least four players," head coach Tim La Kose said, "and we've signed four top players who will help this team."

The four are Riana Byrd, Jayzyl Tauala (JAY-zel Ta-wala), Paris Baird and Jasmine Smith.

Riana Byrd plays for Inderkum High School in Sacramento, Calif. A 6-1 post player, she was selected Tri-County Conference MVP and earned Sacramento Bee second-team All-Metro honors last season. Byrd averaged 13.8 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game as Inderkum (Coach Marty Tateishi) won its league title and finished with a 26-3 record in 2010-11. Over her three high school season's she is averaging over 12 points and 12 rebounds per game. Byrd plays club ball for the NorCal Elite.

"Riana come from one of the state's top high school programs and has put up big numbers," La Kose said. "She has a very high basketball IQ and last season had multiple double-doubles."

Terra Nova High School (Coach Kareem Summerville) in Pacifica, Calif., is where 5-7 Jayzyl Tauala plays. Last year she averaged 10.2 points, 3.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game as the Tigers won their fourth straight Peninsula Athletic League - Bay Division Championship as well as the San Mateo County title. The team reached the Central Coast Section Division III semifinal game and finished with a 24-5 record. Tauala plays club ball for Mission Rec.

"Jayzyl is an incredibly competitive person," La Kose said. "She is a top student and player who comes to us from an elite high school program. In addition, her club team is one of the best in the area."

Paris Baird averaged 7.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game last season for the Windward School in Los Angeles, Calif., the 2010-11 CIF Division IV State Champions. The Windward School (Coach Steve Smith) finished on a 20-game winning streak, with a 29-4 overall record and a No. 9 national ranking. Baird, a 6-1 forward, plays club for the Cal Sparks.

"Paris can run the floor and play both inside and outside with equal skill," La Kose said. "She is a top player on one of the best high school teams in the state. Plus, she played with Ta'Rea (Cunnigan) and Samira (Fields) for the Cal Sparks, so that familiarity with two of our current players will assist in her transition to college."

Jasmine Smith earned first-team All-CIF Division IIIA honors last season for three-time reigning Santa Cruz League Champion Bellarmine-Jefferson High School (Coach Jaclyn Johnson) in Burbank, Calif. Smith, who averaged 12points per game last season, was a pivotal member of the 2009 Bell-Jeff State Championship team. In 2010, the team reached the state semifinals and Smith earned second-team All- CIF honors. Her club team is the West Coast Premier.

"Jasmine has a competitive fire that really burns," LaKose said. "She has achieved so much, personally and through her high school team's success, and will fit in well with our style of play.

"When we combine these four athletes with the core of players that we currently have and Classye James (a local product out of Archbishop Mitty High School who is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules) the future is very bright for San Jose State women's basketball. We are moving ahead and building a winning program. These four signing are another step in the right direction."

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