JUCO shooting guard Washington signs with Lady'Back basketball

FAYETTEVILLE – Pensacola Junior College guard Dominique Washington signed her National Letter of Intent to play basketball next season at the University of Arkansas, Lady Razorback head coach Susie Gardner announced Thursday. “Dominique gives us another guard with size, and she has the ability to create her shot,” Gardner said. “She will fit right in to our defensive philosophy, and she has been a great student at junior college.” Washington is the first spring signee for the Lady Razorbacks, joining a pair of early signees – Blytheville, Ark., forward Whitney Jones and Angleton, Texas, guard Ayana Brereton – and a midseason transfer – Salem, Mo., shooting guard Leslie Howard – in Arkansas’ 2005 recruiting class. At 5-10, Washington was a high-scoring forward her prep days at local Escambia High, but moved to the perimeter at Pensacola. “She is a combo guard that can handle the ball when necessary, and her size is valuable in the SEC,” Gardner said. “She can shoot over some of the guards and has the size to defend against wing players.” The leading scorer the past two seasons for the Lady Pirates of PJC, Washington was named NJCAA All-Region and all Florida Community College Activities Association for veteran coach Vicki Carson. “She is a pure shooter, but she’s probably as good a passer as she is a shooter,” Carson said. “We’ve won 48 games the past two years with Dominique, and I think she will have an immediate impact at Arkansas.” A native Arkansan and graduate of UALR, Carson recently earned her 400th career victory at PJC and after 25 seasons with the Lady Pirates ranks top 10 in career victories among active junior college coaches. “I am retiring to the classroom after this season, and to go out by sending one of my players to be a Lady Razorback is a great way to end my career,” Carson added. “Dominique is a great success story of a young lady who stayed home to improve her game, and I know she is ready to make the step up into the SEC.” This past season, Washington was named for her second year to the NJCAA All-Region team, leading the Lady Pirates with 14 ppg, 5 rpg and 3 apg. Pensacola posted a 22-6 record with a 15-game winning streak, and ranked as high as 8th this season before losing a one-game playoff for one of the two slots in the Florida state JUCO tournament. For Carson, Washington is only the second person in her 25 years with PJC to make all-region and all-state for both years. “She’s put in 60 games at the junior college level to make herself into a better player and a better student,” Carson said. “She is a junior college success story.”Washington averaged 14.1 ppg and 3.6 apg as a freshman to lead the Lady Pirates to a 26-6 overall record and a 10-5 runner-up finish in the Panhandle Conference. She was named to the FCCAA academic team with a better than 3.2 GPA in 2004, and is anticipated to named to the 2005 academic team when it is released later this month. A native of Pensacola, Fla., Washington was voted third-team all-state by the Florida Sports Writers Association as a junior for Escambia High. Her senior season, Washington led the state of Florida with 29 points per game and repeated her all-state honors, adding the Pensacola News Journal’s Player of the Year. Recruited by several universities out of high school including Western Kentucky, she chose to stay home at PJC.The Lady Razorbacks finished the 2004-05 season at 17-14, advancing to the second round of the Women’s NIT. Arkansas returns most of its starters and two injured players for the 2005-06 season along with its 2005 recruiting class.