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Lady Lions Add Six New Players Throughout Spring Recruiting

Throughout the last few months, Penn State women’s basketball announced six commitments to its roster for the coming seasons.

Five of those signings, Tay Valladay, Grace Hall, Kylie Lavelle, Jayla Oden, and Ashley Owusu, came to Penn State via the transfer portal, while the Lady Lions also picked up a commitment from Jill Jekot of the high school recruiting Class of 2024.

Valladay, a graduate transfer from Virginia, spent the past two years with the Cavaliers after her transfer from Marquette. She played in 51 out of 55 games during her two seasons for the Cavaliers and averaged 9.7 points, 3.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game while leading her team in assists and steals.

At Marquette, Valladay was recruited by Lady Lion head coach Carolyn Kieger. “This is an amazing full-circle moment for us,” Kieger said in a press release.

Hall hails from Wabash Valley College. Before her time at Wabash, Hall spent a season in LSU managing to average three points per game during her seven games for the Tigers. Hall redshirted during her time at Wabash, leaving her with three years of eligibility.

Lavelle also arrives with three years of eligibility after spending one season in Drexel. During her season, she started 23 out of 24 games averaging a total of 11.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. She also helped the Dragons to a CAA regular season championship and a trip to the NIT Tournament. Lavelle accomplished all of this while receiving CAA Rookie of the Week four times and earning placement onto the CAA All-Rookie team.

Oden joins the Lady Lions with experience in the Big Ten after playing her last two seasons in Illinois, leaving her with two years left of eligibility. She averaged 5.2 points per game for the Fighting Illini and started in 18 games.

Another veteran of the Big Ten Conference, Owusu joins Penn State from Virginia Tech after a previous stint at Maryland. As a Terrapin, Owusu averaged 14.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists. She has named to the All-Big Ten first team in 2021 and All-Big Ten second team in both 2020 and 2022. Owusu also won Big Ten Tournament titles in both 2020 and 2021 and received the Jim and Kitty Delany Most Outstanding Player Award for her ability in both runs.

Owusu joins the Lady Lions after winning the 2021 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, which is given to the best shooting guard in the NCAA. Additionally, she was named an Associated Press Third-Team All-American in the 2020-21 season and earned All-American laurels according to the United States Basketball Writers Association.

After finishing her junior year at Cumberland Valley, Jekot will follow in the footsteps of her family to Happy Valley for the 2024-25 season. The shooting guard’s sister, Kelly Jekot, spent two seasons with the Lady Lions as a graduate transfer from 2020-22.

During her time at Cumberland Valley, Jekot has been twice named a first-team all-state selection and led her high school to a 12-11 record in her junior season while recording 22.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. She chose the Lady Lions over offers from Pitt and Wake Forest.

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About the Author

Matthew Ramos

Matt is a failed comp sci major turned English major from Colombia. Any angry comments can DMed to his Instagram and MySpace no_jam_mattjam.

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