Wayne State women’s basketball coach Chris Kielsmeier announced Wednesday that five student-athletes have signed national letters-of-intent during the NCAA early signing period.
Signing with Wayne State College for the 2017-18 season are Brittany Bongartz of Ramsey, Minn.; Halley Busse of Winthrop, Minn.; Payton Draper of Waverly, Iowa; Erin Norling from Loretto, Minn.; and Haley Vesey of Indianola, Iowa.
“We are extremely excited about this recruiting class,” remarked Kielsmeier. “We feel that this is one of the most complete classes that we have signed in the early period. Every year we are looking for versatile players that can play more than one position and we believe each player in this class has the potential to play different positions within our system. All five of these girls are really skilled on the offensive end and can shoot the three and it is also a class that has great size and length that we feel will greatly benefit our defensive system.”
Bongartz is a 6-foot center from Anoka High School in Minnesota. She is a two-year starter and three-year letter winner and averaged 15.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game as a junior last season while earning All-Northwest Suburban Conference honors and has played on two state tournament teams.
“Brittany is very unique in her skill set as she can make extremely quick post moves on the block and still step out to shoot the 3,” said Kielsmeier. “She is so versatile that you could play her at the 4 or the 5 position and really stretch the floor with her. Brittany will be able to make plays from anywhere on the court that we play her.”
Busse is a 5-foot-5 point guard from Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop High School in Minnesota where she was a multi-sport standout, starting five years in basketball and volleyball and three years each in golf and track and field. Busse enters her senior season with 2,490 career points after averaging 25.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game last season as a junior to earn Class 2A All-State honors. She is a four-time All-Tomahawk Conference selection and in volleyball is a two-time All-Conference honoree. Busse also excels in the classroom with Academic All-Conference honors the past two seasons.
“Halley is a guard that can play the one or two in our system and is as tough of a player as they come,” stated Kielsmeier. “She has proven to be an elite competitor and scorer while also being able to facilitate through the one position. She was one of the top 10 scorers in the state of Minnesota last year.”
Draper is a 6-foot-1 guard from Waverly-Shell Rock High School in Iowa. She is a three-year starter in basketball and averaged 11.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season to earn Iowa Girls Coaches Association Class 4A Third Team All-State honors. Draper also received All-Region and All-District honors along with First Team All-Northeast Iowa Conference.
“Payton is unique for her size and skill set as she plays point guard for her high school team but will potentially play the 3 or 4 spot for us,” commented Kielsmeier. “She is a very smart player that understands the game and can extend the floor by shooting outside jumpers. Payton is another player with great size that we believe will help her on the defensive end.”
Norling is a 5-foot-11 forward from Delano High School in Minnesota where she is a four-year starter in basketball and volleyball. As a junior (2015-16), Norling recorded 18.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game to earn All-Wright County Conference and All-State honorable mention honors. She was also an All-Conference volleyball player last season.
“Erin is an unselfish player that is very versatile with her game, allowing her to play the 1, 2 or 3 position,” Kielsmeier stated. “She has a great outside shot and can create off the dribble for herself and her teammates. Erin’s size and length gives her a good advantage on the defensive end to be able to quickly cover a lot of the court.”
Vesey is a 5-foot-10 guard from Indianola High School in Iowa where she is a three-year starter and four-year letter winner in basketball. She averaged 9.4 points per game as a junior and 11 points a contest as a sophomore. Haley was a Second Team All-Little Hawkeye Conference selection as a junior and First Team honoree as a sophomore and has earned All-Academic recognition for three years while helping her team to the Class 5A State Tournament each year.
“Haley is an athletic guard that can play the 2 or 3 for us,” said Kielsmeier. “She has a quick trigger from deep and teams will have to come out and defend her. This is where her athleticism will allow her to get to the basket and create. Haley is another guard that has great size and length and we feel this is a great attribute for her defensively and offensively.”
Kielsmeier added, “All of these players truly love the game and work year-round to improve their skills. As great of players as they are, their best attributes are who they are as students and people. They will be incredible Wayne State College students and very involved in the Wayne community.”
Wayne State opens the 2016-17 season at home Saturday, hosting Nebraska-Kearney in a 6 p.m. game at Rice Auditorium.