Nov. 13, 2013
By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State head coach Raegan Pebley announced Wednesday that the women's basketball program has signed three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to attend school and play for the Bulldogs beginning in the 2014-15 season.
The three signees in the 2014 recruiting class are guard Khalia Lark out of Santa Ana's Mater Dei High School, guard Sarah Porter from Horizon Christian Academy in San Diego and forward Bayli McClard out of Hanford High School, the same high school that Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro graduated from.
"We believe strongly in signing women with high character and who will be great representatives of Fresno State as an institution," Pebley said. "Khalia, Bayli and Sarah are all not only great players, but great students and people as well. And, we love that they represent California and some elite high school and club basketball programs."
Here is a breakdown of the 2014 signing class, player-by-player.
Bayli McClard F 6-1 Hanford, Calif. (Hanford HS)
McClard was named the 2012 Fresno Bee Player of the Year after leading Hanford High School to its fifth-straight Central Section Championship and 72-straight wins in conference play. In her high school career, McClard scored 1,795 points, hit 140 3-pointers, had 885 rebounds, 351 steals and 244 assists, showing her versatility.
"Bayli will have a great impact on Fresno State basketball," said Russ Davis, head coach of Cal Swish, one of the top rated club teams in the country. "She is an outstanding versatile athlete who plays super hard. She is one of the hardest working players I have ever coached and I have had some good ones. Also a tremendous person who is very unselfish. Fresno State is getting the whole package."
McClard was ranked as the No. 29 wing player by ESPN Hoopgurlz coming out of high school.
"Bayli is a Bulldog! It feels great to say it and I know she feels the same way," Pebley said. "She has talent, versatility, basketball IQ, unselfishness, and character to be a major impact. She has been taught the game from fantastic coaches and sacrificed a lot to develop into the player she is. We are so glad we are officially apart of her future and her family and local basketball fans will be able to continue to watch Bayli."
She is set to enroll at Fresno State for the spring 2014 semester, but will not be eligible to compete with the Bulldogs until the 2014-15 season.
"I'm happy I'm getting an opportunity to play for Fresno State," McClard said. "It's where I've always wanted to play. I was born and raised in the Valley and I'm excited to play for my hometown University. I really like the coaching staff. Hopefully I can help them continue the success at Fresno State."
Khalia Lark G 6-0 Santa Ana, Calif. (Mater Dei HS)
Lark comes to Fresno State from a very successful Mater Dei High School program where she has helped the school win two CIF Championships, two state championships and one national championship.
"I am so incredibly humbled, blessed and thankful for the opportunity to represent the city of Fresno as one of the newest members of the Bulldog family," Lark said. "I'm looking forward to contributing to the continued success of the Fresno State women's basketball program with this incredible coaching staff as we continue to define a legacy of winning."
As a sophomore, Lark led the Monarchs to a 30-3 record and the Southern Section Division 1AA championship, scoring 14 points in the title game.
"Khalia is a natural fit for our system," Pebley said. "She can pass, score, post up, shoot the 3, get to the foul line and create mismatches. We have watched her for a long time and love how her game has developed. Her commitment to her skill development is special and a true testament of where hard work can take you."
"Khalia Lark is one of the most knowledgeable players I've ever coached," West Coast Premier Valley Club head coach Stan Delus said. "She understands the game very well on both ends of the court, has a work ethic like no other as she works on her craft in this game relentlessly. She is a mismatch nightmare as a big guard, can stretch the floor making shots from all over the perimeter and can post smaller guards at the block. I'm blessed to have coached her, as she has made a major impact on my life since the first day I met her in eighth grade."
Sarah Porter G 5-9 San Diego, Calif. (Horizon Christian Academy
Porter was named the defensive player of the year in her league playing for Horizon High School, where she led her team to their second San Diego CIF championship and the Southern California regional finals.
"It has to be said first that Sarah is a young woman that loves basketball and all that comes with it," Pebley said. "She loves practice, being in the gym on her own, and learning the game. She has an unquenchable thirst for the game. She is fantastic athlete with a scoring mentality and can create shots off the dribble."
She was a second-team all-league selection in 2013, earned all-county academic team honors and received the CIF Sportsmanship Award.
"I am excited and blessed to have this opportunity to play under a good, knowledgeable coaching staff and play for a team that has a strong reputation in women's basketball," Porter said. "I'm excited about my future at Fresno State."
Porter averaged 10.8 points per game, made 47 3-pointers, had 4.9 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game as a junior.
"Sarah's growth has primarily come from her work ethic, her passion for the game, competing during practice drills and her desire to be the best that she can be," said Horizon Christian Academy head coach Vickie Carrington. "She is constantly in the gym and in the weight room and working on things to make her better. She is a very coachable kid, one with whom I've been honored to coach. We're like family. I know the environment at Fresno State will be the same."
"Sarah Porter is a joy to coach," said Marlon Wells, president and founder of the Elite Basketball Organization. "She comes from a great family with great values. She's a hard worker and the sky's the limit for her. I know once she gets to Fresno State the coaches will challenge her and really tap into her basketball talent even more. They will have to get her a key to the gym."
"Catch the Wave" - ESPN2 790 AM is the home of the Fresno State women's basketball team.
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