Another Bishop O'Dowd Star Coming to SJSU

If you want big and big time, then San Jose State women's basketball coach Pam DeCosta has landed a whopper. But patience will be required.

6-foot-2 center Brieanna Ashley, out of Bishop O'Dowd in Oakland, is coming to Spartanland. Ashley averaged 12.6 points (61-percent shooting), 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks a contest in 2008-2009 and this production earned her a spot as a First Team Hayward All Area Athletic League (HAAL) member.

Ranked as the 50th best player in the nation by ESPN in December 2008, Ashley displayed that promise when she totaled 10 blocked shots last January against Sacred Heart -- a team that eventually lost in the state championship game.

But overriding the fine year Ashley and Bishop O'Dowd enjoyed - 28-3 plus four playoff victories until falling to St. Mary's of Stockton - was a late season knee injury. "That was unfortunate because she was blossoming for us," Kevin Cushing, the O'Dowd head coach, said. Ashley had just recovered from earlier knee woes.

The SJSU plan is for her to redshirt the 2009-2010 season, rehabbing her knee and then begin play after that.

Here's why Ashley cast her lot with the Spartans: "Because when I went there and met the team and learned about the program, it seemed like I fit right in," she said.

Malik McCord - the former assistant who is now the Bishop O'Dowd head coach after Cushing retired - offered this about his star: "She's a great kid who plays hard and takes basketball very seriously. She is very agile and moves well for her size."

McCord also noted that Ashley has a particular talent as a shotblocker but is unique in that, "she keeps the ball in bounds," he said

Ashley concurs. "My defense is my best basketball skill, that and my offensive post work," she said.

She transferred to Bishop O'Dowd for her senior season, moving over from Amador Valley High in Pleasanton. This was because her younger brother, Brandon, chose to attend Bishop O'Dowd after junior high. At 6-foot-7, he is also a top basketball talent.

Her acadmeics are all in order as Ashley sports a 3.0 grade-point-average.

As a team, the Spartans were badly outshot and out-boarded in 2008-2009 so greater size and skill, plus presence in the paint, are sorely needed. Ashley will fill such needs but, again, that is after a 12-month waiting period.

Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at

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