RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Commonwealth University women's basketball program has announced the signing of four recruits during the NCAA's early signing period. Guard Jessica Pellechio (Annadale, NJ/North Hunterdon), forward Janniina Koivunen (Helsinki, Finland/New Hope Christian Academy), and guard/forwards Adaeze Alaeze (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park) and Jenice Winter (Brooklyn, N.Y./South Shore) have signed National Letters of Intent and will join the program for the 2012-13 season.
This year's recruiting class has already earned the respect from its peers as it was ranked among the top 20 mid-major classes in the country, according to ESPN.com.
"We are very excited about the young ladies that will be joining us next year," said VCU Head Coach Beth Cunningham. "My staff did another outstanding job of signing a class that will immediately impact our team and the future of VCU women's basketball. They will be a great addition to this university and our basketball program. Each one has the ability to immediately impact our team."
ADAEZE ALAEZE, 5-10, GUARD/FORWARD (BALTIMORE, MD/ROLAND PARK COUNTRY SCHOOL
Averaged 15.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.8 steals per game at Roland Park last season under Head Coach Scott Buckley, earning first team All-Metro by the Baltimore Sun… Three-time all-star selection by the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) and is just 31 points shy of 1,000 career points, which currently ranks fourth all-time at Roland Park… Considered the 85th ranked guard in the country by ESPN Hoopgurlz and the 62nd ranked small forward by Dan Olsen Collegiate Girls Basketball Report… Considered the 399th overall ranked player in the country by ESPN Hoopgurlz scout Brandon Clay's Jump Off Plus recruiting service… Member of the Maryland Lady Shooting Stars AAU program, coached by Donchez Graham
Coach Cunningham on Alaeze: "Daisy has superior athleticism on the wing and tremendous potential. We love her size and length at the guard position and her ability to create her own shot. I expect her to be a great fit for our program."
JANNIINA KOIVUNEN, 6-1, FORWARD (HELSINKI, FINLAND/NEW HOPE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY)
Completed first year in the United States at Oak Ridge Military Academy in Oak Ridge, N.C. under the guidance of Head Coach Delaney Rudd… Also competed for Coach Rudd's Lady Phoenix AAU organization… Contributed 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game for an Oak Ridge squad that finished the 2010-11 season with a 25-7 record… Considered the 209th overall ranked player in the country by ESPN Hoopgurlz scout Brandon Clay's Jump Off Plus recruiting service
Coach Cunningham on Koivunen: "Janni will be a great fit for our system as she has the versatility to be a face-up forward or a big guard. She has a very high basketball IQ and possesses the ability to score in a lot of different ways. She'll be looked upon to help fill the void when senior Courtney Hurt graduates."
JESSICA PELLECHIO, 5-8, GUARD (ANNADALE, NJ/NORTH HUNTERDON)
Two-time All-State and All-County selection… Helped lead North Hunterdon to the State Group 4 championship as a sophomore… Guided North Hunterdon to a Skyland Conference-Delaware Division title, while reaching the North Jersey Section 2 Group 4 state semifinals with a 25-3 record as a junior… Averaged 14.0 points per game each of the last two seasons under Head Coach Tom Hanks… Awarded the Express-Times Girls Basketball Player of the Year, becoming just the third sophomore to receive the honor… Has already reached the 1,000 career point plateau and holds North Hunterdon's all-time 3-point field goal record with more than 160 during her career thus far… Graded as the 657th overall ranked player in the country by ESPN Hoopgurlz scout Brandon Clay's Jump Off Plus recruiting service… Played AAU basketball with the New Jersey Elite organization under Head Coach Paul Martinez
Coach Cunningham on Pellechio: "Jess is a pure shooter and scorer that will fit well with our program. She has the potential to provide an immediate impact to our team with her ability to stretch the defense and her ability to score."
JENICE WINTER, 5-10, GUARD/FORWARD (BROOKLYN, NY/SOUTH SHORE)
Helped lead South Shore High School to the Public Schools Atlantic League Class "AA" Finals last year under the direction of Head Coach Anwar Gladden… Averaged 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds as a junior and helped lead the Vikings to an undefeated record in league play while finishing 19-5 overall… Graded as the 181st overall ranked player in the country by ESPN Hoopgurlz scout Brandon Clay's Jump Off Plus recruiting service… Listed as the 37th ranked wing in the 2012 class by ESPN Hoopgurlz… Member of the Lady Gauchos organization under Head Coach Earl Elliot
Coach Cunningham on Winter: "Jenice will bring great size and athleticism to our team. She has the potential to immediately help us defensively and on the boards at the guard position. We're excited to have her in the mix."