Pittsburgh -- Robert Morris University women's basketball head coach Sal Buscaglia announced the signing of five recruits for the 2010-11 season. The Colonials, the defending Northeast Conference regular-season champions, continue to search both stateside and overseas for talent, plucking one student-athlete out of Greece and one from Germany along with three from the United States.
"Last year, we really went after the talent overseas, and I think you can see in the results - 23 wins and an NEC regular season title - that it paid off," said Buscaglia. "We've also brought in three U.S. players that we think can really help us continue our success. Overall, I feel this class has the talent and potential to not only keep our program at the top of the NEC, but to take us toward the next step of advancing in the NCAA Tournament."
Since Buscaglia's arrival in 2003-04, the Colonials have enjoyed five 20-win seasons and two NEC Tournament titles. Robert Morris has received a bid to three postseason national tournaments - the NCAA Tournament (2007 & 2008) and the Postseason WNIT (2010) - over the past four years. Individual accolades have followed as well with Sugeiry Monsac (2005-2007), Sade Logan (2007-2009) and Angela Pace (2008-2010) all earning NEC Player of the Year honors. Pace was also the first player in conference history to be named NEC Defensive Player of the Year while also earning player of the year honors.
Freshmen forward Artemis Spanou (Rhodes, Greece / Greek National U-16) brings national team experience to the Colonials while guard Franziska Worthmann (Rotenburg, Germany / BG 89 Rotenburg / Scheeßel) played last season in the Damen Basketball Bundesliga (DBBL) and will have two years of eligibility with Robert Morris.
Three domestic players also join the fray, all three coming to the program as freshmen. Guard Danielle Bounds (Bethany, Okla. / Putnam City West) will fill a guard role while forward Britta Emberg (Cowansville, Pa. / Kittanning) and forward Kelly Hartwell (Woodbridge, Va. / Gar-Field) play the forward position.
Fr., G, 5-8
Putnam City West
Bounds, 5'8", was named to the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association All-State All-Star team as a senior and earned an honorable mention nod on the Oklahoman All-State Team. The Putnam City West team most valuable player, she averaged 14.6 points per game over her career while shooting nearly 39 percent from three-point range.
"We are very excited about having Danielle come to Robert Morris. Her three-point shooting capabilities allow her to fill the role of a point guard and a two-guard," said Buscaglia. "Being an all-state player in Oklahoma shows you the level that she can play on."
Fr., F, 6-1
Emberg, 6'1", was named the Kittanning Leader Girls Basketball Player of the Year as well as a Valley New Dispatch Second-Team All-Star. She averaged 12.0 points a game for a defensive-minded team as a senior, leading Kittanning to WPIAL playoff berths in 2009 and 2010. A three-sport athlete, Emberg owns the school track and field records in javelin, discus, triple jump and high jump while also playing volleyball.
"I feel Britta is a real sleeper and was overlooked. Given her work ethic, we feel she can really develop into solid Division I player," said Buscaglia.
Fr., F, 5-10
Gar-Field High School
Hartwell, 5'10", is ranked #66 among all wings according to ESPN Insider. She record 1,091 points at Gar-Field, becoming just the fourth player in school history to reach that milestone. Hartwell was named to the AAA All-Cardinal District first team for second consecutive season after leading the league with 18.1 points per game. Her scoring prowess also earned her a spot on the 2010 Prince William Girls Basketball First Team.
"Kelly really brings a great deal of athleticism to our team," said Buscaglia. "She is a very hard worker and we truly feel her best basketball is still ahead of her. She has a great deal of potential and we look for her to really grow into a formidable player at the small forward position."
Fr., F, 6-0
Greek National U-16 Team
Selected as been a member of the Greek National U-16 team since 2007, Spanou, 6'0", has and has played for Panionios Athens of the Greek Division A1 since 2004. In her most recent international tournament, the 2009 FIBA U-16 European Championships, Spanou averaged a double-double for the second straight year, averaging 14.0 points and 12.1 rebounds in Division A play. She picked up a double-double in seven of nine games, leading the tournament in that category, and also led all players in minutes (38.8), was second in rebounds (12.1) and fifth in assists (2.0. In the 2008 tournament, Spanou led Greece to the B Division title, averaging 13.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Last season with Panionios Athens, she averaged 3.7 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists while playing 20 games in the Greek Division A1.
"Artemis has all the tools to be an outstanding Division I player. She has played on a very high level at a young age. We think this will help her at the DI level," said Buscaglia. "We're looking for real big things right away from Artemis."
Jr., G, 5-10
BG 89 Rotenburg/Scheeßel
Worthmann, 5'10", led the Second Division of the Damen Basketball Bundesliga (DBBL) in scoring at 21.0 points per game for BG 89 Rotenburg / Scheeßel. She also led the league in three-pointers made, knocking down 58-of-158 (36.7 percent). Overall, Worthmann converted 43.1 percent (151-350) from the field while adding 2.9 rebounds per contest. She led the Hurricanes to third place in the Bundesliga Nord .
"Franzi is an outstanding shooter and one of the best players in the German league as indicated by her stats," said Buscaglia. "She has a wealth of experience and brings a lot of maturity to the floor."