South Carolina State head women’s basketball coach Adura Smith has announced the addition of eight new players for the 2021-22 season.
Joining the Lady Bulldogs will be Aliciah Fields (6’1 small forward from Concord, N.C.), Briauna Thompson (6’3 forward from Montgomery, Ala.), Mekayla Lumpkin (5’4 point guard from Birmingham, Ala.), Janiah Hinton (5’8 point guard from Tupelo, Miss.), Rakyah Reid (6’0 wing from Oakland, Calif.), Bianca McDowell (5’9 guard from Miami, Fla.), Lovely Sonnier (6’0 wing guard from San Francisco) and Ajia Smith (5’10 shooting guard from Marietta, Ga.).
Fields played her prep career at Northwest Cabarrus High School in Concord. A dual athlete she earned all-conference honors three out of the four years in basketball and track.
Thompson is a transfer from Meridian Community College in Meridian, Miss. During her four-year high school career at Brewbaker Tech she grabbed a record 1,000 career rebounds and was named to the area all-tournament teams her junior and senior year, averaging 12.5 rebounds and 6.1 blocks.
Lumpkin, the floor general for her team at Ramsay High School, earned all-area and all-state honorable mention, as well being named team captain for the Lady Rams.
Hinton, a savvy athletic shooting guard who can play the point, hails from Saltillo High School in Saltillo, Miss. She averaged 16 points and four assists her senior season.
Reid played her high school career at Oakland Technical High School in Oakland, where she led her team to the state championship in 2019. A solid defender in the post, she can play either small or power forward, but also has the ability to play wing on the perimeter.
McDowell led her team to the District Title at Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami. A Miami Herald All-Dade Honorable Mention, she averaged 11 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals during her senior season. She was named to the all-star team for Miami-Dade and finished her prep career as an honor student with a 4.1 GPA.
Sonnier brings a big presence in the Lady Bulldog backcourt with her size and shooting ability. A top 100 Girls’ Basketball Player from Northern California, she played her prep career at Mission High School in San Francisco, where she averaged 17 points, 8 assists, 9 rebounds, 5 steals and 6 blocks. She earned All-League Honorable Mention in 2018, second-team honors in 2019 and first-team honors in 2020. An all-academic honor student, Sonnier breaks a 20-year drought signing with a Division I school from San Francisco public schools.
Smith, a solid shooting guard in this year’s class as well as scrappy defensive stopper, played her high school career at Marietta High School, where she led them to the GHSA 7A State Title. During her junior and senior year, she played and started in over 55 games, leading the Blue Devils to a 21-5 overall and a 9-1 region record this past season.