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Sugar Bear basketball brings spring signing total to three

Posted: April 17, 2014 - 6:33pm

The University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears have added three players to their numbers during the spring signing period.

The latest is Kendara Watts from Shelton State Community College in Alabama.

Watts, a 5-foot-10 guard, averaged a team-high 15.9 points and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting 50.2 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from 3-point range and a league-high 81.6 percent at the free throw line for Shelton State last season, as the Buccaneers went 30-4 and were champions of the 18-team Alabama Community College Conference for the second consecutive season.

“Ken is a winner,” said coach Sandra Rushing. “She comes from a winning program and has rings to prove it. She knows the game, knows how to win, and brings a great personality to our program.”

Watts was named to the All-Region 22 team, Region 22 All-North League first team and Region 22 All-Tournament team in 2014. She scored in double figures in 28 games, with a season-high of 34 and seven games of 20 or more points. She hit multiple 3-pointers in 10 games, including a season-high of four on three separate occasions.

During her high school career at Fairfield (Ala.) High School, she was the team’s leading scorer at 17 points per game during her senior year and was the 2011 West Player of the Year. She played in the 2012 Alabama vs. Mississippi All-Star Game and the 2011 AHSAA North-South All-Star Game.

Watts joins 5-7 Bellaire, Texas, guard Angel Williams and 6-foot Pearl River CC forward Shanta Echols as late signing period additions for the Sugar Bears.

Little Rock’s Olivia McWilliams signed in the early signing period before leading her eStem team to the 3A state championship in March.

McWilliams scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds in the championship game and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Williams averaged 18 points, seven assists and four steals per game for Bellaire High School en route to being named the District 20-5A Co-MVP. It marked her third time to be named to the all-district team, and she led Bellaire to a district championship for the fourth consecutive time. Williams shot 50 percent from 3-point range and 88 percent at the free-throw line. Following the season, she participated in the Battle for the Gulf all-star event showcasing all-stars from Texas and Louisiana and led her team to a 4-1 record.

“Angel is a great player with a tremendous work ethic,” Rushing said. “I feel as if she can come in and compete right away. She is a gym rat and we look forward to what she can bring to this program.”

Echols led Pearl River in both scoring and rebounding in each of her two seasons in uniform, averaging 13.4 points and 10.4 rebounds this season and 10.9 points and 6.3 rebounds in 2011-12. She missed 2012-13 due to a torn ACL.

In 2014 she was named second-team all-state for Mississippi junior colleges and was named to the All-Region Tournament team. She recorded 12 double-doubles this season and had a career-high 23 rebounds against Mississippi Gulf Coast. She had a 22-point, 13-rebound, three-block effort in an upset over a 26-3 LSU-Eunice team in the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.

“Shanta is a great fit for us,” Rushing said. “She is going to battle, rebound, defend and play hard and that’s the type of player we’re looking for.”

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