Women's hoops: Vandy brings in promising quartet

Assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Stephanie Norman gives VandyMania readers the lowdown on Vanderbilt women's basketball signing class. The group includes fall signees Tina Wirth, Amy Malo, Holly Rogers and Jennifer Risper.

Tina Wirth: 6-1 guard/forward, Seton Catholic High School, Chandler, Arizona. Averaged 23.3 points and 11.6 rebounds as a junior.

Coach Norman: Tina's high school coach was actually my teammate at Arizona State, so I've known about Tina for quite some time. We've had a dialog for three or four years, and she's told me "This kids coming up, this kid's coming up," so I've had my eye on her for a long time, watched her in games, summertime, for four years now. So she's no surprise, in terms of she didn't pop up late. She's been on our radar screen for quite some time.

She plays the post a lot in high school, but she's really a natural 3. But the great thing about her is she can play a lot of positions because of her versatility. She's 6'1, can handle the ball. She does a lot of the little things - takes charges, plays good defense, is very physical. So we're excited to have somebody of her caliber on the team. She made the junior national team and represented the country well. She's a great kid, a great student, and will fit in really well with the group we have.

Amy Malo: 6-3 forward/center, Fairmont High School, Fairmont, Minnesota. Averaged nearly a double-double with 12.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game as a junior.

Coach Norman: Amy Malo's a big kid. For those who like comparisons I would say Jenni Benningfield, same body, same shape. She's strong, runs the floor really well, and will fit in to our transition game. She has a great high post shot and is very physical inside. She can dominate with the left or right hand. She was probably was one of the bigger surprises of the summer - everyone was talking about her, and after we signed her, everyone has been complimenting us, saying what a great get she is.

She comes from a very small school in Minnesota. We didn't know much about her. We saw her two years ago, and had talked to the coach a little bit, but never went to see her play in a high school game. We just saw her in the summertime again - and the race was on. A lot of top schools were very interested in her. We were lucky to get her out of the state of Minnesota. For whatever reason, Minnesota passed on her and went with another post, and they didn't have a bunch of scholarships so we were fortunate enough to land her.

Holly Rogers: 5-9 guard, Cleveland High School, Cleveland, Tennessee. Averaged 19 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists per game as a junior.

Coach Norman: Holly Rogers down at Cleveland High School is probably the player people are most familiar with here. She will fit into our shooter situation. Coach Powell there runs a great transition game up and down the floor. Practices are very intense, so Holly is a very good passer, very good in transition, pushing the basketball and will fill a niche that Abi's leaving. She needs to work on being more consistent, but she will fill that role.

Jennifer Risper: 5-9 guard, Canyon Springs High School, Moreno Valley, California. Averaged 20.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.6 steals per game as a junior.

Coach Norman: The last kid is named Jennifer Risper, probably the least familiar of the four for most people because she plays with her high school team and doesn't do the summer circuit. So she's never gotten ranked on anybody's list. And last year she actually tore her ACL so no one saw her in the summer. I had known that kid since before I arrived here. I saw her as a freshman, kept tabs on her. I've helped her high school coach place a couple of kids in junior college from her high school team. Her coach is salt of the earth and runs a very disciplined program.

She's just a really exciting player, a driver/slasher, very athletic, and I think will be a great addition. At what position, I'm not quite sure. I think she can back up a little at the point, but she's not a natural point guard. As most people know who have seen us play, we play a lot of guards at different positions, so I wouldn't try to pigeon-hole her into any one of them. She's just a really good athlete that we felt would add not only to our team, but chemistry-wise, work ethic-wise, just a solid person.

She come out here on an unofficial visit when her high school team traveled to Memphis to play in a tournament there. Her high school coach brought her over, and she checked out the campus then. Her high school coach and I are very close, and she trusted her high school coach quite a bit with helping her in this decision.

I would say with two of these kids, how it got started was the relationship that I had with the high school coaches. How it finished had very little to do with me. It's more the team and the campus environment and that sort of thing. So that's how we found out about them, but really when it comes down to it, the players have the most to do with why kids come to places. We set the table, and then they decide to dine.

VandyMania.com Top Stories