Burnside first women's hoops signee

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – One of the West Coast’s best rebounders, Darshae Burnside of San Bernadino, Calif., is the first women’s basketball player of the early period to sign a National Letter of Intent with the University of Arkansas.

Arkansas opens the regular season Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. against Louisiana-Monroe at Bud Walton Arena.

“Darshae is the post player we have needed to sign since we arrived at Arkansas,” Razorback women’s basketball coach Tom Collen said. “She is athletic and runs the floor extremely well at 6’3”. She has the physique to do all the dirty work in the paint and is an aggressive rebounder.”

The 6-3 center-forward from Cajon High School in San Bernadino is ranked top 100 by most of the prep prospect services. She was singled out by ESPN.com as one of the top players at the Nike Regional Skills Academy in May.

“She is one of the top post players in the country with the same type of potential as Lauren Ervin had when she graduated five years ago,” Collen said.

Burnside is the second California prep star to sign with Arkansas under Collen. Last fall, Arkansas signed Jamesha Townsend from the San Diego area. Arkansas’ recent star junior college transfer, Lauren Ervin, was from the Los Angeles area, and last spring was a draft pick of the Connecticut Sun.

Last season, Burnside averaged 15.5 ppg and 16.1 rpg for the Cajon. The Cowgirls to the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section 2A title with a 30-4 overall record.

In the state title game, Burnside had 12 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots as CHS defeated Ayala, 51-47. Only two teams held her to single digits, with a season high of 33 points against Ontario (Calif.).

“We are fortunate to have her signed,” Collen said. “Coach (Timothy) Eatman did a great job with Darshae, her family and her high school coach, Mark Lehman, to get her signed all the way from California.”

As a sophomore, Burnside was first-team all-state as one of the top rebounders in the country and the No. 4 shot-blocker in the state of California.

The Razorbacks have three slots open on the current roster, plus two seniors on the 2008-09 squad.