Newcomers to Provide Backcourt Depth for Women's Hoops in 2008-09
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

NEW YORK – After graduating five perimeter players (Brooke Carey, Megan Griffith, Shasta Henderson, Brittney Carfora and Michele Gage) over the past two seasons, head coach Paul Nixon knew that he would have to replenish the depth in his backcourt with quality young players.

Rising sophomore Kathleen Roehrkasse stepped into a backup guard role last season and had a strong finish and a quartet of incoming first-years will look to make a similar impact on the court in the upcoming season.

Mary Beato (BC-Pitman, N.J.), Jazmin Fuller (CC-North Bellmore, N.Y.), Katherine Goodwin (CC-Goffstown, N.H.) and Melissa Shafer (CC-Raleigh, N.C.) make up the Class of 2012 for Columbia Women's Basketball and Nixon is excited about the group's arrival.

"This incoming class has the ability to play the way we want to play," Nixon explained. "Using up-tempo, pressure defense, all four will fit in well to our playing system."

Columbia finished the 2007-08 season with its best Ivy League record in program history at 7-7. The Lions return nine letterwinners from last year along with sophomore Judie Lomax, who sat out last season after transferring from Oregon State.

Mary Beato – G – 5-11 – BC – Pitman, N.J. – Pitman

Nixon on Beato: "Mary is a taller guard with deep shooting range who is also adept at being able to slash to the basket. Her athleticism allows her to play well defensively."

Jazmin Fuller – G – 5-4 – CC – North Bellmore, N.Y. – Calhoun

Nixon on Fuller: "Jazmin really impressed us in our elite camp with her athleticism, speed and quickness. She was also a great leader of her high school team; that's one of the most important traits in a college point guard."

Katherine Goodwin – G – 5-7 – CC – Goffstown, N.H. – Governor's Academy (Mass.)

Nixon on Goodwin: "Katherine is a great addition to our program. She is a dynamic guard with solid fundamentals but she also has some flair to her game that fans will enjoy watching."

Melissa Shafer – G – 5-9 – CC – Raleigh, N.C. – Cardinal Gibbons

Nixon on Shafer: "Melissa really impressed us at our elite camp with her competitiveness. She is incredibly driven and has the ability to score, set up her teammates or handle the basketball."