International affair Cowgirls finding talent from all over the globe
By Jim Gazzolo
Lynn Kennedy has turned the McNeese women’s basketball program into a mini United Nations.
The new women’s basketball coach plucked Emerson Taylor from Perth Australia away from his old school Portland State to finish his first recruiting class in Lake Charles.
Taylor, a 6-foot, 4-inch center/forward, from Willetton High School is the fourth international player Kennedy has signed in the month since he has been named the head coach.
Taylor was the last of eight recruits signed by Kennedy, a group that included four transfers from the NCAA portal and four freshmen. Taylor had to be released by Portland State before she could sign with McNeese.
Kennedy officially introduced Taylor and the other newcomers at a zoom press conference Wednesday.
“She (Taylor) is a high-quality player who can play both inside and out for us,” said Kennedy during a zoom conference call introducing the newcomers. “She is a Top 20 player from Australia and somebody I have been recruiting for a couple years now. It’s great to have her coming to Mcneese.”
The eight newcomers will be added to five returning scholarship players who as of now have decided to stay at McNeese.
“We have had some good, tough workouts with our players and we have seen them really take to some things we are trying to do,” said Kennedy. “I’m excited about this class but also what we have coming back. I am excited for the upcoming summer and season.”
Kennedy said he has reached out to some local players and hopes that as the program grows McNeese will become a more attractive option for those who may be looking to transfer in the future. With a fast style of play and wins he hopes the school can become a more viable option in the near future.
The coach knows nothing sells a program like winning.
“We have a fun way to play,” said Kennedy. “We want to be a high mid-major program, compete for championships every year and win NCAA games.”
All of Kennedy’s transfers have at least two years of eligibility left.
“Normally when you come into a situation it’s a two or three year rebuild,” he said. “We think we can win next year. We have a young team but we have an experienced team as well.”
Perhaps the best transfer signing for Kennedy is the one he brought with him from Portland State. Desirae Hansen has moved with the coach to bring talent and leadership to the Cowgirls. The 3-time All-Big Sky player has been in the NCAA tournament with Kennedy.
“Desirae was our best player at Portland State,” said Kennedy. “She is one of the best shooters, one of the best passers I have every coached. Excited for her and do continue to do what we have done together.”
Cristina Gil 5-8 Guard Freshman
Barcelona, Spain/Boise State
Desirae Hansen 6-0 Guard Junior
Rainier, Or./Portland State
Zuzanna Kulinska 5-10 Guard Sophomore
Autumn Watts 6-1 Forward Sophomore
Centennial, Co./New Mexico
Kaili Chamberlin 5-9 Guard Freshman
Medford, Or./South Medford
Emerson Taylor 6-4 Center Freshman
Taylor Wilkins 5-10 Forward Freshman
New Orleans/Mt. Carmel
Mireia Yespes 6-2 Guard Freshman
Barcelona, Spain/Cirvianum De Torrello Institute
Kyla Hamilton 5-6 Guard Sophomore
Lizzy Ratcliff 5-7 Guard Sophomore
Claralee Richard 5-9 Guard Junior
Le’Shenae Stubblefield 5-7 Guard Sophomore
Divine Tanks 6-1 Forward Junior