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Locally: Washington State women’s basketball adds pair of international players

UPDATED: Sun., April 26, 2020

From staff and news services

A couple of international players, who Washington State women’s basketball coach Kamie Ethridge said can play all three guard positions, have signed with the Cougars’ 2020 recruiting class.

Charlisse Leger-Walker, whose older sister, Krystal, is a redshirt senior guard at WSU, is from New Zealand, where she led her high school to five national championships and was voted MVP four times.

She is the youngest player to have played for her country’s national team, the Tall Ferns, in international competition, starting when she was 16. The Tall Ferns won the bronze medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She was also a member of the New Zealand 3x3 team that won silver at the U18 3X3 World Championships and was voted to the World All-Star 3 team.

Ekin Celikdemir is a 5-foot-10 guard from Turkey, where she played in a club program affiliated with a FIBA women’s Euro League professional team in Istanbul before moving to the U.S. for her final year of high school, where she attended a Tilton, New Hampshire, college prep school.

During her senior season, Celikdemir led Tilton to a New England Preparatory School championship and earned all-league first-team honors. She averaged 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.5 steals. In Turkey, her U-16 team placed first in the 2017 Turkey women’s championships after finishing second in 2016. Her U-18 team was second in 2018-19.

Hunter Madden, a 6-1 guard from Sydney, Australia, will join the Idaho men for the 2020-21 season after completing his Latter-day Saints mission he started in 2018 after completing high school, Vandals coach Zac Claus announced. Madden signed with UI out of high school.

During his senior season at Shore School, Madden led the team in scoring (24.7 ppg), rebounding (8.1 rpg) and assists (4.5) and shot 52% from the field and 39% on 3-pointers. He was selected to the All Australian Schoolboys team and played as a development player with the professional Sydney Kings of the Australia and New Zealand National Basketball League.

College scene

Northwest Christian graduate Tyler Shea and Ferris grad Liam Cossette were named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference 2019-20 Men’s Track & Field All-Academic team for student-athletes with GPAs of 3.20 or greater.

Shea, a sophomore at Northwest Nazarene, has a 3.91 GPA. Cossette, a senior at Western Washington with a 3.38 GPA, is an all-academic repeater, earning his second award.

• Washington State, Idaho and Gonzaga had players honored on the final Oracle Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division I rankings that were published March 3 for the abbreviated 2019-20 season.

Michaela Bayerlova, a WSU junior who was unbeaten in 13 matches, climbed to No. 46 in women’s singles. She had been No. 63 in the previous rankings.

Idaho senior Esteban Santibanez and freshman Francisco Perez Bascon, who compiled a 7-2 record, went from being unrated to finishing No. 72 in men’s doubles.

In men’s singles, GU senior Sam Feit climbed into the 125-player rankings at No. 118 with a 16-7 record.

Kelis Barton, a sophomore defender on the Washington State women’s soccer team, was awarded a 2020 President’s Award by school president Kirk Schulz and also was named the 2020 recipient of the school’s Virginia E. Thomas Scholarship.

The President’s Award honors those who advance leadership and engagement at WSU and beyond. The Thomas scholarship is named in honor of Virginia E. Thomas, former Director of the Leadership Center at WSU.

Barton has been a campus leader, founding the Black Student-Athlete Association and representing WSU at the Black Student-Athlete Summit each of her two years. She is director of communications for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a peer academic counselor mentor.

She was selected to attend the 2019-20 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum scheduled last weekend in Los Angeles, but it was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

• Mt. Spokane graduate Cailin Spencer, a senior at Carroll College majoring in biochemistry/molecular biology, was named to the 2019-20 Frontier Conference Academic All-Conference Women’s Golf team with a GPA above 3.0.

• Seniors AJ Brock, a baseball pitcher, and rowing’s Renee Kemp were named the Washington State Academic Services Student-Athletes of the Month for April.

Brock, a computer science major with a 3.63 GPA, earned back-to-back first-team Pac-12 All-Academic honors and started the 2020 baseball season with a program-first three straight victories. He used his computer skills as part of the Ardu Mission Planner Project to create 3D mapping software to track flight paths.

Kemp, a native of New Zealand with a 3.76 GPA, earned academic honors from the Pac-12 and the College Rowing Coaches Association. She spent her senior year as president of the WSU student-athlete advisory committee. In competition, she posted the Cougars’ highest finish with a fifth in senior single sculls at the Burnaby Lake Small Boat Invitational.

Golf

Ralph Noyes scored a hole-in-one on the 145-yard eighth hole at The Links Golf Club in Post Falls on April 17 using a 7-iron.

Jeff Coulter scored a hole-in-one on the eighth hole at The Links on Wednesday using an 8-iron.

Hockey

Braydon Clark, an 18-year-old defenseman who Spokane general manager Scott Carter says “plays with an edge,” was acquired by the Chiefs in a trade with the Prince Albert Raiders last week.

The Chiefs gave up a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2022 Western Hockey League bantam draft for the native of Langley, British Columbia. Clark appeared in 17 regular-season WHL games with Prince Albert the past two seasons after being taken in the sixth round of the 2017 bantam draft.

The 5-foot-10, 172-pound Clark played a majority of the 2019-20 season in Junior A, collecting three points (one goal, two assists) and 54 penalty minutes in 16 games. He played 11 games in PA.

• The Chiefs are running a player feature on their website, spokanechiefs.com, called “Teammate Trivia,” led by Chiefs game-day host Jay Stewart. The first episode is online and features linemates Adam Beckman, Jack Finley and Cordel Larson.

Letters of intent

Gonzaga men’s track/cross country: Nicky DiMartino, distances, Seattle (Bishop Blanchet HS); Cooper Laird, distances, Kenmore, Washington (Inglemoor HS); Michael Lewis, distances, Seattle (Bishop Blanchet).

Idaho men’s track/cross country: Sam Fulbright, distances, Lewistown, Montana (Fergus HS).

Gonzaga men’s tennis: Leon Roider, Vienna, Austria, transfer from South Carolina Upstate, will be a sophomore; Zach Fuchs, Los Altos, California, will be a freshman.

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