Plunkett takes signing class to five for 2009

FAYETTEVILLE – Junior college All-American Maddy Plunkett continues the University of Arkansas women’s basketball recruiting announcements according to Razorback head coach Tom Collen.

The 6-2 Albury, New South Wales, native is Arkansas’ second Australian post player this spring. She joins nearby JUCO signee 6-3 Skye Rees of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.

“Maddy is a great addition to the program,” Collen said. “She gives us another post player with good size and lots of skills. She is a great rebounder and scorer, and is a very good three-point shooter.”

Plunkett brings the Arkansas signing class for 2009 to five players. Yesterday the Razorbacks announced the National Letter of Intent for the Louisiana Class AAA Player of the Year, Dominique Robinson.

Player of the Year for the Scenic West Athletic Conference, Plunkett led College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, Idaho, to a 14-1 SWAC record and 32-4 overall in 2008. Named All-Region 18, she paced CSI to the regional title as a freshman, earning regional all-tournament and MVP honors.

A preseason NJCAA All-American, Plunkett redshirted the 2008-09 season for CSI with a torn ACL. In her first year for the Golden Eagles, the Australian averaged 14.6 ppg and 7.6 rpg, hitting 48% from the field and 31% behind the three-point line. Her career highs at CSI were 31 points and 15 rebounds.

“She was one of the top junior college posts in the country as a freshman, but sat out all season with her knee injury,” Collen said. “She will have three seasons of eligibility remaining and has the potential to impact us immediately as soon as we can get her health back to 100%.”

At the close of her freshman season, Plunkett led the Golden Eagles into the NJCAA quarterfinals in 2008 before falling to Arkansas-Fort Smith. The 6-2 forward scored 25 of CSI’s points in the 80-63 loss.

“We were fortunate to sign her this spring because most of the other program’s recruited her believing she would come out of JC next season,” Collen said.

In her native country, Plunkett scored the first 14 points for New South Wales in the bronze medal game of the Australian U20 tournament to finish fourth at the 2007 event. She attended Xavier High School in Australia, and was on the U19 Australian Junior Olympic Team.

Plunkett, Rees and Robinson join early signing period signees Sarah Watkins of Germantown, Tenn., and Darshea Burnside of San Bernadino, Calif. All five Razorback signees are 6-0 and above, with Watkins and Burnside a pair of 6-3 post players.

Arkansas was 18-14 last season, reaching the Sweet 16 round of the Women’s NIT as the Southeastern Conference’s automatic selection to the 48-team tournament.

The Razorbacks return several players from the team, led by rising junior SEC Sixth Player of the Year Charity Ford and SEC All-Freshman team members Ceira Ricketts and Lyndsay Harris. Ricketts was also picked as the top newcomer in the league, and this weekend is at the USA Basketball U19 team trials in Colorado Springs, Colo.