GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- University of North Dakota Head Women's Basketball Coach Travis Brewster announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period. Josie Buckley (Rice Lake, Wis./Rice Lake), Jordan Meyer (Anoka, Minn./Anoka), Grace Sawatzke (Monticello, Minn./Monticello) and Bailey Strand (Fergus Falls, Minn./Fergus Falls) will all continue their basketball and academic careers at UND in the fall of 2014.
"It's a good class full of players with high basketball IQs," Brewster said. "I think we're starting to attract kids that will be successful with what we do on the floor. There's some local flavor in this class and that's always exciting.
"In the Big Sky Conference, you have to be able to put the ball in the hole. These kids were recruited here with that in mind and I think they're in a good situation where they won't be pressured to shoudler the load right away."
Buckley averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds per game for Rice Lake last season, which placed third in the Big Rivers Conference at 6-6 and went 11-12 overall. She earned second team all-conference accolades as a junior.
"Josie brings a knack to score," Brewster said. "She's a bigger forward and with what we're running she fits in very well in that system. She's a strong player that has a high basketball IQ as well. She is a strong player that had a huge desire to play at UND. She's a dynamic scorer."
Meyer posted 4.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game last season at Anoka. She played with current UND player Leah Szabla in her sophomore and freshman campaigns at Providence Academy in Plymouth, Minn.
"Jordan is a long, athletic post whose best basketball is in front of her," Brewster said. "We felt we needed to address the post position with this recruiting class with a back-to-the-basket type player. She does a good job of running the floor and she has good hands. She'll get stronger with the strength and conditioning program here."
Sawatzke has rewritten the record book at Monticello High School, becoming the school's all-time leader in points, steals and assists heading into her senior season. She led the Magic into the Minnesota State Tournament for the school's first time as a sophomore and brought them back for a return trip last season, highlighted by a 23-point effort in the 3A quarterfinals.
"Grace is a natural point guard. I thought in the past couple years we've been trying to make kids into versatile position players, but she fits naturally into the point guard spot," Brewster said. "She is a strong kid that I think got overlooked a bit in the recruiting process. She'll have some time to develop with our current point guards. She's got a quick first step that I attribute to her tennis background."
Strand broke the Fergus Falls single season scoring record with 588 points, surpassing 1,000 career points and bringing the Otters its second straight Section 8AAA title. She poured in 26 points for Fergus Falls in the Class 3A quarterfinal, falling in double overtime to Sawatzke's Monticello squad.
"Bailey is a strong, athletic two guard that is a hard worker and a good athlete for her size," Brewster said. "She's also a smart basketball player and she adds to our class of size and what we're trying to accomplish."
North Dakota graduates four seniors after this season: Madi Buck, Katie Houdek, Megan Lauck and Allyssa Wall. UND next plays at home Nov. 26 against the University of Jamestown. Tip is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Photos courtesy: Chippewa Herald, Star Tribune