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Two tall JC players sign to play women’s hoops at UA

Citizen Staff and Wire Report

Citizen Staff and Wire Report

When the announcement came that 6-foot-5 Malia Nahinu would not return next season, the Arizona women’s basketball team was left with no height.

The tallest player returning would have been 6-1 Ify Ibekwe.

Arizona solved its problem Wednesday, signing 6-4 Jennifer Kioa and 6-3 Amanda Pierson, both junior college transfers.

Pierson (Seward County CC, Liberal, Kan.) and Kioa (Los Angeles Foothill CC) joins November signees Davellyn Whyte (Phoenix St. Mary’s High) and Brooke Jackson (Mesa College).

“We are excited about the kids that we are adding during the late signing period,” said Arizona head coach Niya Butts. “They each bring something different to the table and those attributes should help us this season both in the nonconference and Pac-10 portions of our schedule.”

Kioa was ranked the No. 7 post player in community college basketball this season by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and No. 26 overall while Pierson was tabbed the ninth best player and 32rd overall by Collegiate Girls Basketball.

Kioa averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots per game last season. Pierson averaged 12 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game.

Arizona will have four players back from a squad that had a 12-19 record last season.

3 tie for SW Section title

Dean Vomacka, Chris Dompier and Don Littrell each posted 2-under-par 70 scores to tie for the win in the Southwest Section PGA Southern Chapter Pro Series I Tuesday at Randolph North Golf Course.

Vomacka of Stone Canyon Club overcame two bogeys on the front nine to score 35-35 with a single birdie on the back. Dompier of Skyline Country Club used an eagle-5 on No. 13 on the back after a 34 on the front, and Littrell, also of Skyline, eagled No. 8 on the way to a first-round 35 and recorded two birdies on the second nine.

The win was the second of the 2009 season for Vomacka, the 2008 Southwest Section PGA Player of the Year. He shot a 5-under 65 in January to win the Section Canoa Ranch Pro-Am.

Bauley a contender

Tucson’s Craig Bauley, the City Seniors champion in 2008, shot a 4-over-par 35-39-74 Wednesday for a three-way tie for fourth place in the first round of the Arizona Champions Stroke Play event.

Eric Rustand of Tucson (77) finished in a 10-way tie for 18th place.

The tournament will continue through Saturday at TPC Scottsdale.

Pennell gets first recruit

New Grand Canyon University men’s basketball coach Russ Pennell, given a full allotment of 10 scholarships with which to work, will sign Scottsdale Saguaro senior Steven Morin during the April signing period.

Morin, a 6-foot-5 wing who averaged just under 20 points, gave Pennell a commitment Monday.

Two Division I players and possibly a third are on their way to Grand Canyon to play next season.

Former Tempe Corona del Sol guard T.J. Benson, a 5-11 junior, is transferring to Grand Canyon from Weber State. And Gaby Ngoundjo, a 6-7, 240-pound forward, was released from his scholarship at Charlotte and will sign with Grand Canyon.

Kentucky gets top forward

Forward DeMarcus Cousins has signed a national letter of intent to play at Kentucky, the first recruit secured by new coach John Calipari.

Cousins had previously committed to play for Calipari at Memphis, but now is joining the Wildcats since Calipari was hired earlier this month to replace Billy Gillispie. Rivals.com has ranked the Mobile, Ala., senior as the top power forward in the country.

Testing NBA waters

A handful of college players said Wednesday they would put their names in for the NBA draft but will not hire an agent, keeping open the option of returning to school for another season.

They are: Notre Dame forward Luke Harangody, South Carolina forward Dominique Archie, Gonzaga forward Austin Daye, Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson and Texas swingman Damion James.

Georgetown says Big East rookie of the year Greg Monroe will stick around for his sophomore season. But UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet said Tuesday he will give up his final year of eligibility and enter the draft.

Ex-UCLA coach has cancer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Former UCLA and UAB basketball coach Gene Bartow has been diagnosed with stomach cancer.

The 78-year-old Bartow, the president of the company that owns the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, will begin outpatient treatment at the Kirklin Clinic in Birmingham next week, UAB said Wednesday.

He succeeded John Wooden as UCLA’s coach in 1976 and led the Bruins to the Final Four, beating Fred Snowden’s Arizona team in the Elite Eight.

Bartow left after two seasons to start Alabama-Birmingham’s program. He won 647 games over 34 seasons. He also coached Memphis State from 1970-74 and guided the school to the 1973 national title game, where the Tigers lost to a UCLA team coached by Wooden.

V. Williams advances

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Second-seeded Venus Williams struggled to advance at the Family Circle Cup on Wednesday, beating Sania Mirza of India 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

It was a big day for Melanie Oudin of Marietta, Ga., who advanced to the third round with a 7-5, 6-0 win over No. 29 Aleksandra Wozniak, seeded ninth.

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