High Class

West Virginia University women's basketball coach Mike Carey today announced the signing of three players for the 2006-07 season.

Signing letters of intent to play for Carey and the Mountaineers were Janay Armstrong (Shelbyville, Tenn./Shelbyville Central High),Kelly Smith (Staley, N.C./Eastern Randolph High) and Ranisha White (Charlotte, N.C./Gulf Coast Community College).

"We got our needs," Carey said. "We got a shooter and athletic posts. With these three recruits plus our two transfers that will be eligible next year (Sparkle Davis and Melanie Small) this is an excellent class. This is one of the best classes we've had since I've been here."

Armstrong, a 6-1 post player averaged 12.6 points and 9.5 rebounds a contest while shooting 59% from the field last year for Columbia Central High as a junior. Armstrong has since transferred to Shelbyville for her upcoming senior season.

For her efforts, Armstrong was named the District 8-AAA MVP, named to the Region 5-AAA all-tournament team and garnered Street & Smith Honorable Mention All-America accolades. As a freshman at Spring Hill High she was named the high school rookie of the year for her area.

Armstrong is rated the 57th-best post player in the country by All Star Girl's Report, the nation's leading scouting service. She plans to major in forensics.

"West Virginia recruited me the longest and after I took my visit and fit in with the girls perfectly I knew WVU was the place for me," Armstrong said.

"Janay is a big, strong post player with excellent perimeter shooting ability," Carey said. "She can play the three or four spots for us and gives another scoring threat down low."

Smith, a 5-11 guard, averaged 17 points and six rebounds last year at Eastern Randolph High School where she helped the Wildcats to a 24-4 record and a second round appearance in the 3A state playoffs.

Smith is a three-time team MVP, two-time county player of the year and two-time all-area in Greensboro, N.C. She reached her 1,000th career point last season and now stands at 1,120 for her career. She plans to study dentistry at WVU.

"I love the style of play at WVU," Smith said. "The coaches are great and there is great intensity. The BIG EAST is excellent. I'm very excited to get to WVU to play."

"Kelly gives us very good size for a shooting guard at 5-11," Carey said. "She can shoot the three and that is something that is needed on this basketball team."

White, a 6-2 forward and rising sophomore at Gulf Coast Community College, averaged 13 points and 11 rebounds per game in guiding the Commodores to a 27-4 record in 2004-05, a Panhandle Conference championship and a state runner-up finish in the Florida Community College Athletics Association (FCCAA).

For her efforts, White was named a WBCA/Kodak Junior College Honorable Mention All-American and was named to the FCCAA all-tournament team.

She is rated the No. 4 junior college power forward and 15th best overall player in the nation by All Star Girl's Report.

A high school teammate of current Mountaineer LaQuita Owens at Myers Park High in Charlotte, White was a two-time all state selection and was named to the North Carolina vs. South Carolina All Star Game in 2004. She was also a 2003 McDonald's All-American nominee.

"I love the environment and the coaches at WVU," the future graphic design major says. "It's a great program and I'm looking forward to being a Mountaineer."

"Ranisha is very athletic," Gulf Coast coach Roonie Scovel says. "She has a very good ability to face the basket and is a great shooter with pretty good range. She'll give WVU a new look with her ability to face the basket."

"Ranisha is an excellent post player that can shoot the short jumper," Carey said. "She is very athletic, can score and defend and that will be a great addition at the four and five positions for us."

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