As the early signing date of 2012 hit Wednesday, a pair of Seward County sophomores strengthened the Lady Saints tradition by signing at Division I universities. Anete Kirsteine and Ricquia Jones, each inked on the dotted line on Wednesday in the All-American Room at Seward County. Kirsteine is headed to the Universtiy of Texas-El Paso while Jones will be on her way to Indiana State University at seasons end.

Kirsteine started all 31 games a season ago as a freshman for the Lady Saints, earning 2nd Team All- Jayhawk West and Honorable Mention WBCA All-American accolades after averaging 11.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest for Seward. The sharpshooter from Riga, Latvia nailed 66 three pointers for the Lady Saints in her first season, good for 8th best all time, knocking them down at a connection rate of 46% which was 2nd best in school history. She scored in double figures 20 different times during her rookie campaign with her season high coming with a 20 point effort against rival Garden City. Kirsteine was off to a great start to her sophomore season at Seward as well, averaging 15.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game to lead the team, until she was sidelined with an injury five games in that is expected to sideline her for the rest of the 2012-2013 campaign. Kirsteine signs with the Miners after a record setting 29-4 season for them in 2011-2012. UTEP was 15-1 in Conference USA play last season, running away with the conference crown before sweeping through the Conference USA Tournament to advance to the NJCAA National Tournament where they lost a hard fought battle with #11 Penn State in the first round. The Miners should be poised for another run to the top of the NCAA ranks with the addition of Kirsteine in 2013-2014 as they will graduate just two players at seasons end, coincidentally both being from Kirsteine’s hometown of Riga, Latvia.
Jones, along with Kirsteine, was the only other player to start all 31 games for Seward last season. As a freshman Jones led Seward to a 23 win season, averaging 8.0 points and 4.3 assists per game while tormenting opposing guards averaging 3.1 steals per contest. She scored 10 or more points 10 times as a freshman, pouring in a season high 20 in a Seward win over Dodge City. Late during the 2011-2012 season, Jones recorded a season high 11 assists in a game against Butler, her second career high set against the Lady Grizzlies after ripping them off for 8 steals in their first matchup of the year. Jones has raised her game to even another level as a sophomore this season, averaging 13.4 points, 4.6 assists, and 4.8 steals per game in the Lady Saints 4-1 start. She is shooting 72% from the field for the Lady Saints and has connected on 4 of 6 three point attempts, good for 67% in the early going. During the opening week of the 2012-2013 season Jones was named the KJCCC Player of the Week after averaging 20.0 points, 6.0 steals, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists for Seward in a pair of Lady Saint wins.
Indiana State will welcome Jones in 2013-2014 with a very young roster with just one player graduating off of this year’s Sycamore squad and with just two players slated to be seniors next season. The Sycamores were 15-16 overall last season and 9-9 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Indiana State is off to a 2-0 start this season and will travel to the storied Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana to take on the BIG 10’s Hoosiers in their next battle on Friday.
The Lady Saints return home on Friday after a three game road swing to the desert of Arizona when they host the Billy’s/Days Inn Classic in the Greenhouse, taking on undefeated South Plains on Friday and tangling with Frank Phillips on Saturday, both tips set for 6:00.