Women’s basketball signs local trio

by Charlie Armitz

Three local high school standouts have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Gophers women’s basketball program, head coach Pam Borton announced Wednesday.

Mikayla Bailey, Jackie Johnson and Shayne Mullaney will join the team as freshmen for the 2012-13 season.

“Mikayla, Jackie and Shayne have been well-coached and well-prepared to play at the collegiate level,” Borton said in a release. “We have found three players that really want to be Gophers and they will be great ambassadors for our program. They are the total package as student-athletes.”

Johnson is the highlight of the recruiting class — she was named the No. 1 recruit in the state of Minnesota by GPrep.net, and ranks in the top-100 nationally. A 6-foot-2 forward from Eden Prairie, Johnson led the Eagles to a runner-up finish at the Class AAAA State Championship in 2011 as a junior, earning all-state honors in the process.

Mullaney, a 5-foot-10 guard, was Johnson’s teammate with the Eagles in 2010-11. She set an Eden Prairie record for most points scored in a season with 445.

Bailey is a 5-foot-9 guard from Osseo and a two-time all-conference selection.

The 2011-12 Gophers have a deep backcourt with Rachel Banham, Kiara Buford and Leah Cotton. Banham is expected to be Minnesota’s starting point guard for years to come, but with Buford being a senior and Cotton a junior, the shooting guard spot could fall into the hands of either Mullaney or Bailey within the next two years.