Four prep stars signed with Oklahoma women's basketball Wednesday, the first day of the Early Signing Period, head coach Sherri Coale announced.
Gabrielle Ortiz, Gilyesa (pronounced Jill-ees-uh) Penzo, Vionese Pierre-Louis and LaNesia Williams filed National Letters of Intent with the Sooners.
“We are so excited about this signing class,” Coale said. “Their respective skill sets are diverse and yet so complimentary of one another. Their individual and collective potential on the basketball court is massive, but who these young women are and what they aspire to do with their lives beyond basketball is even more impressive. These guys each fit so perfectly into the mission of our program. They'll make our team better, undoubtedly, but they'll also make the University of Oklahoma better. I'm honored to have the opportunity to coach each of them.”
Ortiz (Racine, Wis./The Prairie School) is considered one of the best in the nation at her position and was ranked fourth at point guard, and No. 14 overall, by ESPN HoopGurlz. The 5-foot-9 guard averaged 20.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.4 steals as she became Prairie’s all-time leading scorer as a junior. Ortiz first earned all-state honors as a freshman and last year led her team to the Division 4 State Semifinals and 24-3 record.
“I fell in love with Gabbi Ortiz's game the very first time I watched her play. She's just a magician with the ball in her hand. She can create her own shot and she can create shots for her teammates. She's crafty and her basketball IQ is so high, but her gift is her competitive heart. She just has an edge about her that is extraordinary.”
Penzo (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico/Montverde [Fla.] Academy) is a 5-9 guard and native of Puerto Rico who has twice played on her national team at FIBA Americas U16 Championships. Penzo averaged 7.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during the 2011 tournament and 7.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 2013. Penzo is the first women’s basketball player from Montverde to earn a scholarship from a NCAA Division I program.
“Gileysa might be one of the most focused and determined 16 year olds I have ever met. She's a combo guard who possesses outstanding court vision and the skill set that allows her to take advantage of what she sees. She plays the game with a joyful abandon that is contagious.”
Pierre-Louis (Lake Worth, Fla./Grandview Prep) is a 6-4 post player who is rated 11th at her position, and No. 83 overall by ESPN HoopGurlz. The daughter of native Haitians, Pierre-Louis earned second team Palm Beach All-County honors as a junior after averaging 22.1 points, 14.0 rebounds and 6.7 blocks at Grandview Prep.
“Vivi has such a high ceiling. She has a great build—natural strength, good hands, and athletic instincts. And Vivi is so motivated to achieve—both on and off the court. She has very high aspirations and the work ethic necessary for making them a reality. Vivi has a chance to become a dominant force in the paint for our basketball team.”
Williams (Oklahoma City/Northeast Academy) is a 5-7 guard who, teamed with Sooner freshman T’ona Edwards, led Northeast to a 30-0 record and state title last season. Williams, rated the No. 24 point guard in her class by ESPN HoopGurlz, was named to the All-State First Team after averaing 15.3 points. She scored 21 points in the Class 2A State Championship game.
“Nesi is a terrific athlete. She has the ability to get through gaps in the defense before the defense even realizes any gaps are there. That same speed also gives her a chance to be a difference maker on the defensive end where she is capable of wreaking all kinds of havoc on ball handlers.”