MINNEAPOLIS (gophersports.com) - University of Minnesota head women’s basketball coach Marlene Stollings today announced the signing of Annalese Lamke and Jessie Edwards to National Letters of Intent to play for the Golden Gophers beginning in Fall 2015.
A 6-foot-3 center from Galesville, Wis., Lamke was the No. 49-ranked center in the class of 2015 by ESPN at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School and played for Wisconsin Playground Elite AAU.
"We are very excited about Annalese joining the Minnesota family,” Stollings said. “Her game is often compared to All-American Janel McCarville. Her size, strength and versatility will allow her the opportunity to excel in our system. Additionally, Annalese has an innate desire to be great and will bring the intangibles such as drive, passion and a disciplined work ethic to our program.”
Lamke earned all-state honors from the Associated Press two-straight seasons, including second-team accolades in 2015. She was a two-time Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 3 First Team All-State selection, earning unanimous recognition as a senior, and was twice named conference player of the year and a three-time all-conference first team honoree. Lamke was also named player of the year by both the LaCrosse Tribune and Winona Daily News after averaging a team-high 19.9 points per game in her final campaign and setting a school record with 1,384 career points.
"I chose Minnesota because of how great the school is and I think that I'm going to fit in great with their program and exciting style,” Lamke said. “I'm so excited to play for Coach Marlene and her staff. The U of M will be close to home for me and I'll be almost right next door to my older brother who attends the University of St. Thomas. There wasn't a single negative about Minnesota when making my decision."
The center also competed in volleyball and track & field for the Red Hawks, earning first team all-conference accolades in each sport. She holds school records in discus and shot put and was the 2015 state champion in discus as a senior.
A 6-foot-3 center from Leeming, Australia, Edwards averaged 17.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game at the Australian Junior Championships in 2014, where she was voted “Player of the Day” on the opening day of the event. In 2013, Edwards ranked first at the Australian Junior Championships in rebounds per game and blocks per game.
“Jessie is coming to us well-seasoned from a very competitive basketball country,” Stollings said. “Her experience playing in the Junior Nationals and Australia’s top league (WNBL) will give our team depth. She has good size and a well-rounded skill set that will allow her to make the transition to the Division I level quickly.”
She was named the Rookie of the Year for the WNBL’s West Coast Waves during the 2013-14 season and was honored as the Leeming Senior High School Sportswoman of the Year in 2012.
“I'm really excited about playing for Minnesota and I want to thank the coaching staff and everyone involved in the process for giving me this opportunity to play in the best basketball country in the world,” Edwards said. “After watching some game footage online, I knew I would fit in well with the team's style of play. Coach Marlene does a fantastic job, and alongside Minnesota's strong academic programs, I decided Minnesota had all the pieces fitting together. I'm really looking forward to working hard for the team and becoming a Golden Gopher.”
Edwards is currently averaging 16.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game for the Kalamunda Eastern Suns of the SBL.