Pitt has seen a major uptick in women’s basketball recruiting since Lance White took over as head coach in 2018, and in the 2019-20 season, that paid dividends for the Panthers, as their freshman class was the third-most productive freshman class in the nation.
Our sophomore class showed out in year 1️⃣— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_WBB) August 26, 2020
Top scoring freshman classes in the @ncaawbb in 2019-20 ⬇️
1. USC (1,308 pts)
2. South Carolina (1,047 pts)
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CC: @_Necole123, @_dharris1, @hayford__, @igbokwe_rita #H2P // #GoBeyond pic.twitter.com/381rrwMCvR
In total, Pitt’s five-woman freshman class came up with 948 points, and that was topped only by South Carolina's freshman class, which scored 1,047 points, and USC's, which scored 1,308. As a result, the group ranked third in the NCAA in points scored by a freshman class.
The Pitt freshman class included Amber Brown, Dayshanette Harris, Emy Hayford and Rita Igbokwe, some of whom emerged as team leaders in their first collegiate seasons. Cynthia Ezeja was also a freshman, but she redshirted and did not see the court last season.
Harris was the driving force behind Pitt’s offense, as she led the team — in addition to the freshman class — in scoring, with 380 total points and 12.7 points per game. Brown complemented Harris in the Panthers backcourt, contributing 281 points and 9.1 per game, while Hayford and Igbokwe had 147 points and 140 points, respectively.
While Igbokwe had the lowest point total of the four active freshman players, she set herself apart from the group through her defensive efforts, breaking a 43-year-old Pitt freshman record for blocks, with 60 last season.
There were also two active first-year Division I players on the Pitt roster who did not count toward the 948-point total in Gabbie Green and Marcella LaMark. Green was a JUCO star who transferred from South Plains College in Texas, and LaMark saw her first Division I action after redshirting for a year at Texas Tech.
Green ranked third on the team, with 297 points, and LaMark contributed 60 points. So in total, Pitt got 1,305 points from first-year contributors. And with multiple four-star recruits and high-level transfers set to join the team in 2020, the future looks bright for White and the Panthers as they continue to build.