NEW YORK — Columbia women’s basketball head coach Megan Griffith unveiled the 2017-18 recruiting class on Thursday. The Lions add four to the roster, welcoming Andrea McCormick, Riley Casey, Madison Pack and Imani Whittington.
“I am thrilled to announce this recruiting class,” said Griffith, who enters her second season as head coach of the Lions. “We are bringing in four high-character competitors that will be great ambassadors of Columbia women’s basketball. I know they will be a strong complement to what we have begun building as a program. I’m eager to get their careers started here and help them grow to be their best.”
Andrea McCormick – 5-8 – G – Erie, Pa. – Villa Maria Academy
From the lakeside of Erie, Pennsylvania, McCormick comes to Broadway as a four-year letterwinner in both basketball and golf at Villa Maria Academy. She helped lead Villa’s girls basketball team to region titles all four seasons, as well as three district titles and two runner-up finishes in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class AAA state tournament. The senior captain ranks No. 74 by ESPN Hoopsgurlz for 2017 point guards. This past season, in her second game back from surgery, she scored 18 points with five assists, four rebounds and three steals to lead the Villa Victors to victory in the state quarterfinals. As a junior, she went for 17 points, six assists, six rebounds and two steals in an overtime win against St. John Vianney, a team ranked among the top-10 in the country. McCormick played AAU basketball for Lady’s First Basketball Academy and the Toledo Thunder. She is a three-time first team all-region selection in golf, also earning second team all-state honors as a junior and finishing the year ranked No. 8 individually in PIAA Class AA.
Griffith on McCormick: “Andrea is a natural leader and student of the game. Her ability to score in a variety of ways will add tremendous depth to our backcourt. Also, her ball handing and decision making are at a very high level, which will be a great asset to us.”
Riley Casey – 5-8 – G – Brentwood, Tenn. – Franklin Road Academy
Casey, originally from New Jersey, was a four-year letterwinner and three-year team captain at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. The Brentwood native, located 10 miles south of the Music City, led Franklin Road to three straight appearances in the district championship game, two region championship games and the 2015 state finals. Casey was named district MVP and selected to the East-Middle All-Region Team every year since her sophomore season. The Tennessee Sports Writers Association named Casey to its all-state team all three years, while she also landed all-state tournament team honors as a sophomore and junior. The combo guard scored a career-high 38 points with nine made 3-pointers this past November against Harpeth Hall, finishing the year with a school record 111 triples. A multi-sport athlete, Casey also competed in lacrosse, soccer and track, while playing AAU basketball for the Tennessee Trotters. Both of her parents played collegiate basketball, and her sister, Taylor, currently plays for Washington and Lee. Casey’s cousin, Ryan Kelly, currently plays in the NBA for the Houston Rockets and was a member of Duke’s 2010 national championship team.
Griffith on Casey: “Riley immediately brings toughness and a scorer’s mindset to our backcourt – she’s a warrior on the floor and will never quit on her team. I like that she comes from a coaching family and thinks the game like one.”
Madison Pack – 6-3 – F/C – Sarasota, Fla. – Sarasota High School
Pack heads up the east coast from Sarasota, Florida, where she was four-year letterwinner and senior captain at Sarasota High School. The 6-3 post player led the Lady Sailors to two district titles, a region title and an appearance in the 2014 state Final Four, combining for a four-year overall record of 91-20 in her time at Sarasota. The 2016-17 Girls Basketball McDonald’s All-American Nominee ranks No. 84 in ESPN HoopsGurlz Class of 2017 forwards. Prospect Nation also ranked Pack among its 2017 Elite 100. She averaged 10.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks throughout her high school career, including career-highs of 12.7 points as a senior and 7.3 rebounds as a sophomore. Pack is a two-time Herald Tribune First Team All-Area player, who also claimed Sarasota High’s Varsity Rookie of the Year and Varsity Offensive Player of the Year awards throughout her four years. She scored over 1,000 points in her career, eclipsing the milestone this past January. On the club circuit, Pack spent three seasons competing for Tampa Thunder, including the past two on Team Dupree.
Griffith on Pack: “Madison will impact our program with her skill, IQ and size from the start. At 6-3, she’s an above-average ball handler and passer. Also, she can score inside-out to keep defenses honest. She will help us on both ends.”
Imani Whittington – 5-11 – G/F – London, England – Barking Abbey School
Whittington travels to New York from across the pond in London, England, and joins rising junior Paulina Koerner as the two international students on Columbia’s roster. Whittington’s playing experience includes more than four years at Barking Abbey School, located 10 miles east of London in Barking, Essex, where the two-year captain led her team to four consecutive National School League championships. This past season, she averaged 12.6 points and seven rebounds, ranking among the top-10 nationally in points per game and 3-point field goal percentage two years in a row. Whittington also brings a wealth of experience from the international level, competing on the England National Team’s varying age levels every year since 2009, including a season as captain of the U18 team. The 5-11 wing has competed in multiple FIBA European Championships, doing so for the first time with England’s U16 team in 2014. At the 2016 FIBA European Championship, she averaged 8.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals. This past season, Whittington climbed even further up the international ladder to join Great Britain’s U20 National Team.
Griffith on Whittington: “Imani is a great athlete and competitor. Her length, quickness and ability to stretch the floor will add value to our program. She’s a worker and has played at various levels in her career, which will benefit her from the jump.”
Fans can lock up their women’s basketball season tickets by purchasing the True Blue ticket package for 2017-2018 now. True Blue fans receive season tickets for all three ticketed Columbia sport programs (football, men's and women's basketball) for as low as $170. For more information, visit gocolumbialions.com/tickets or call 888-LIONS-11 today.