NATCHITOCHES – Family ties helped the Northwestern State women’s basketball team land their fifth signee for the Class of 2017.
Leah Barnes, a 6-foot-2 forward from North Dakota College of Science, signed a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday to play for the Lady Demons, joining Tyler Junior College guard Nautica Grant as spring signees in head coach Jordan Dupuy’s first full recruiting class.
“Leah is a great addition to our program,” Dupuy said. “She will add athleticism and length to our front court. Her offensive efficiency per touch was very high. We want to continue to increase our tempo on both ends of the floor, and she will allow us to do so. She has a 3.8 GPA and comes from a very good family. We are happy to add their family to our Lady Demon family.”
Barnes, who played her high school basketball in suburban Minneapolis, helped lead the Wildcats to consecutive NJCAA national tournament appearances in her two seasons at the Wahpeton, North Dakota, school.
In her second season with the Wildcats, Barnes shot 54.1 percent from the field and averaged 7.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. She is a two-time Academic All-Mo-Dak Conference selection.
“Leah is an extremely hard worker and great teammate,” Wildcats coach Thomas Dryburgh said. “We feel like she will continue to improve on the court and work hard to make a difference. We are excited that she found a place that made her feel comfortable and are excited to watch her continue her education and athletic dreams at NSU.”
Barnes said her family, which includes numerous members from Epps, played a role in her decision to attend Northwestern State. Barnes’ mother, Rosa, was offered an athletic scholarship at NSU in the 1990s.
“I love the coaches,” said Barnes, who also played volleyball at NDSCS. “They are very welcoming. I like the fact I’ll get the chance to play in front of family who have never been able to see me play before. I also love the campus and its surroundings.”
Barnes joins Grant and high school signees Jada Freeman, Jhane Wheeler and Lacee Savage in the Lady Demons’ signing class.