Braves ink three in recruiting

Carrollton, GA – May 3, 2005 – West Georgia’s women’s basketball program has a strong nucleus returning from last year’s GSC Tournament team. Coach Craig Roden is hoping that a strong recruiting year will add the extra punch to push his team to the top of the standings in 2005-06.

Toward that end, the coach is pleased with the first three signees for his 2005 recruiting class. Roden announced Monday the signing of two high school stars from Georgia, and one junior college transfer by the Braves’ program.

From the prep ranks, UWG added Rachelle Washington, a 5-7 guard from Kendrick High in Columbus, and 5-11 post player Alexis Pace of Griffin High School. Also, UWG inked 5-6 point guard Mattie Gouaux, a native of Lockport, La., who played junior college hoops at Snead State in Boaz, Ala.

“We feel really good about the start to this recruiting class,” said Roden of his new trio of players. “In Mattie, we added experience and a true point guard. That really helps solidify our backcourt.”.

As for Washington and Pace, Roden says the youngsters have a tremendous upside. “They both come from winning programs,” he said. “They give us an inside outside combination that should be productive for the next four years.”

All come to the Braves with impressive credentials. Gouaux was a two-year regular at the juco level, starting every game of her career at Snead. She averaged 11.3 points per game, shooting 44 from the field and 39% from beyond the three point line. Also, Gouaux hit 76% of her free throws a nd averaged over six assists per game. Her numbers earned her a berth in the AJCAA All-Star Game.

Gouaux comes to the Braves with much praise from her juco coach, Brent McCoy. “Mattie is a very good leader, a coach on the floor,” says McCoy. “It’s her toughness that sets her apart from other players.” Also, Gouaux is very strong in the classroom. She carries a 4.0 grade point average while majoring in pre-med.

Pace brings the reputation of a strong inside player to the Braves’ program. She averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds per game for the Griffin Bears, earning Atlanta Tipoff Club All-State Honorable Mention honors. She was also twice named Griffin Daily Player of the Week, and is a four-year member of the school¹s all academic team. Pace played her senior season for her mom, coach June Barrow. Her coach for the first three years of her prep career was former Braves star and UWG Hall of Fame member Schwanda Walker Jackson. Also, she is the sister of Josh Pace, a star for the past several seasons at Division I power Syracuse.

Washington also comes to West Georgia with impressive credentials. She helped her Kendrick High team advance to a berth in the finals of the GHSA Class AAA State Tournament in 2005. She averaged 15 points, three rebounds, four assists, and four steals per game. Also, Washington was a member of the AAA All State Team, and was chosen all-region and All-Bi City for coach Sterling Hicks’ squad.

The signing of Gouaux, Pace, and Washington is the start of West Georgia’s recruiting for the coming season. Roden expects to add one or more prospects before wrapping up this year’s efforts.

UWG’s newcomers will join a veteran cast when the new school year begins in August. The Braves have seven letter winners returning from last year’s squad, including all five starters.

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