NEW YORK - Columbia head women's basketball coach Paul Nixon has announced that six student-athletes will join the Lions for the 2011-12 season. Amara Mbionwu, Campbell Mobley, Crystal Owusu, Lizzy Stachon, Miwa Tachibana and Caitlyn Unsworth have made commitments to join the team in the fall.
"We are thrilled with our incoming class for this fall," Nixon said. "We have successfully added at least one player to our roster at every position, and as a group, they will fit in very well with our style of play."
"In addition to being a talented group of basketball players, they are also outstanding young women who will be tremendous additions to the Columbia University community," Nixon concluded. "They are all excited to be Columbia Lions, and we are excited they chose to attend either Barnard College or Columbia College and play for us."
Mbionwu was a four-year letterwinner and two-time captain at Bowie High School in Maryland. The 6-1 post player led the county in rebounding with 12.3 per contest and pulled down 18 boards in a victory over Bladensburg as a senior.
Nixon on Mbionwu -- "Amara is a very gifted rebounder. She has the size, strength and athleticism to really pursue the ball off the rim. While rebounding is certainly a strength of hers, she continues to work hard to improve every facet of her game. She has the potential to make a significant impact."
Mobley hails from Nashville, Tenn., and played four years of varsity basketball at Harpeth Hall. The 6-1 forward scored 29 points against Horizon Christian en route to Most Outstanding Player honors at the Nike Tournament of Champions in 2010.
Nixon on Mobley -- "Campbell is an exceptionally skilled post player. She can score in a variety of fashions with either hand when her back is to the basket, and she has a soft shooting touch from the free throw line. She has good strength which will help her make the transition to the more physical college game."
Owusu comes from some impressive bloodlines, as her father, Francis, ran track and field at Utah State, and her brother, Chris, is currently a star wide receiver at Stanford. The 5-10 wing player from Oxnard, Calif. was a two-time All-Ventura County selection at Oaks Christian High School, and posted 33 points, nine rebounds and seven steals in a victory over Bell High in 2010-11.
Nixon on Owusu -- "Crystal is an all-around ball player. She can put the ball in the basket from the perimeter or off the dribble, but she really relishes doing all the little things on the court. She loves to defend, rebound from the guard position or set up a teammate with a great pass. Her hustle and energy will help us right away."
Stachon is quite familiar with the Columbia women's basketball program, as her sister, Caitlin, was a four-year letterwinner for the Lions from 2006-10. The younger Stachon was a second team all-state selection by the Iowa Newspaper Association in 2011, after setting a single-season record with 74 blocks as a senior at Dowling Catholic.
Nixon on Stachon -- "While Lizzy will certainly remind Columbia fans of her older sister Caitlin, with her left-handed post play and her determination on the floor, the Lion faithful may also find themselves seeing glimpses of Lauren Dwyer '11CC as well. Like Lauren, Lizzy loves to block shots and has a strong offensive skill set. Her height and talent will be a welcome addition to our team."
Tachibana comes to Morningside Heights from Marlborough High School in Los Angeles. A former high school teammate of current Lions Taylor Ball and Sabaah Jordan, the 5-4 guard averaged 14.1 points per game for the Mustangs as a senior.
Nixon on Tachibana -- "Miwa comes from a highly successful high school girls basketball program, and she has been well-coached, both there and with her club team. Given her background, she understands the importance of the team game. She brings depth to our point guard position with exceptional ballhandling skills and a lethal pull-up jump shot."
Unsworth scored over 2,000 points during her high school career that concluded with two seasons at Hampton Roads Academy in Newport News, Va. The 5-9 guard was named the Virginia Independent Schools Girls Basketball Association Division III State Player of the Year as a sophomore after averaging 16.9 points and helping her Stone Bridge team to its second straight state title.
Nixon on Unsworth -- "Catilyn is the best pure shooter we saw on the recruiting trail all last summer. By the end of most tournaments, teams were playing her with a 'Box-and-1' defense. She's not just a scorer though. She has a great head for the game, and really anticipates well on the court. Once she makes the transition to the faster pace of the college game, she's really going to be able to help us."