With the departure of Jade Redmon and Terae Briggs, along with the transfer of Camariah King, the Wolf Pack needed to replace 56.8 percent of their scoring from last season. In the last month, Nevada Women’s Basketball has added five transfers to a roster that lost its top three scorers. Head coach Amanda Levens has now added eight players to the team, as the transfers are accompanied by three incoming freshmen.

10/14/18: USF WBB Headshots and Marketing at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco, CA. Image by Chris M. Leung for USF Dons Athletics. 13 Nia Alexander

The first addition Levens made was Nia Alexander from San Francisco. Alexander is a 5’9” guard who comes from a basketball family. Her mother Diane Williams played professionally overseas after playing collegiately at Washington. Her sister won the 2018-19 NPSL Olympic League MVP at Todd Beamer High School.

Alexander is a graduate transfer who is immediately eligible, earned a bachelor’s degree in just three years giving her two years of eligibility to play with. Alexander averaged 8.6 points, 33.4 rebound per game and shot 45.1 percent from the field.

A headshot of Marguerite Effa.
A headshot of Marguerite Effa.

The next player added to the roster was Marguerite Effa from USC. Effa is also a graduate transfer who is eligible to play immediately but will have just one year of eligibility remaining instead of the two that Alexander has. She is a 6’3” forward will most likely come off the bench for the Wolf Pack.

Effa redshirted last season, but played in each of the three years prior. In that time she averaged seven minutes a game. Her numbers declined after her freshman season, due to her decline in minutes.

A headshot of Miki'alo Maio.
A headshot of Miki’alo Maio.

Salt Lake Community College transfer Miki’ala Maio was the third player to announce her decision to join the Wolf Pack. A 5’9” guard from Hawai’i, Maio is the a prolific scoring and playmaking addition for Nevada.

In two seasons at SLCC, the Bruin were very successful winning two Region 18 titles and appearing two NJCAA tournaments. In her career with the Bruins she averaged 12 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists per game. Her individual efforts have also been recognized as she was named the Region 18 MVP and a second team NJCAA All-American after her sophomore season.  

LaPraisjah Johnson poses with a basketball for her first Nevada picture.
Photo courtesy of Nevada Athletics. LaPraisjah Johnson poses with a basketball for her first Nevada picture.

The fourth transfer was another NJCAA athlete in LaPraisjah Johnson out of Cochise College. This will be Johnson’s third team in as many season as she spent her freshman year at South Plains College in her native Texas.

Last season she averaged 8.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 41 percent from the field, helping Cochise reach the NJCAA Tournament. Coach Levens talked about the impact she expects Johnson to make on the defensive side of the ball.

“She will help add athleticism and a strong defensive mentality to our team,” Levens said. She is such a hard worker and competitor and we can’t wait to get her on campus.”

Both Maio and Johnson will have two years of eligibility remaining.

LaPraisjah Johnson poses with a basketball for her first Nevada picture.
Photo courtesy of Nevada Athletics. Jacquelyn Nakai poses with a basketball for her first Nevada picture.

Just three weeks after the first transfer signing, Nevada Women’s Basketball announced a fifth transfer. Jacqulynn “JJ” Nakai adds to the guard-heavy transfer glass as the 5’7” player looks to make an impact on offense.

Nakai has the best statistics of all the transfers announced. Last season at Pima Community College, she averaged just over 24 points per game — third in the nation — with 5.5 rebounds and 6.7 assists to go along with that. Her high points per game average was not due to just a sheer amount of shots. Nakai was very efficient as she shot 46.6 percent from the field, 42.7 percent and 85.4 percent from the free throw line. Her hard work earned her the honors of being a first team NJCAA Division II All-American and the outright Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

The addition of five new transfers and three new freshman look to add a new energy to a Wolf Pack team that had a disappointing 12-19 season in Levens’ second year at the helm.  

Darion Strugs can be reached at dstrugs@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @dstrugs.