Elon Women’s Basketball Inks Three for 2014-15

Posted by Press Release on February 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm under College | Read the First Comment

ELON, N.C. – Elon head women’s basketball coach Charlotte Smith has announced that Shaylen Burnett (Graham, N.C./Southern Alamance), Malaya Johnson (Mount Airy, N.C./North Surrey) and Emily Sasser (Cary, N.C./Apex) have all signed national letters of intent to join the Phoenix program for the 2014-15 season.

“We are extremely excited about our 2014 signing class for numerous reasons,” said Smith. “Shaylen, Emily and Malaya are all very talented competitors and remarkable young women with strong character. We believe they will make a tremendous impact not only to our basketball program, but to our university as well. The fact that they are all from North Carolina is an added bonus.”

Burnett, a 5-9 guard, helped Southern Alamance to the second round of the state playoffs in each of the last two years and is a McDonald’s All-American nominee. Last season, she averaged 17.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game as she was named the Metro 4A player of the year, the Burlington Times News region player of the year and was a NCBCA District VI first team selection. As a sophomore who averaged 18 points per game, Burnett was named the to the Metro 4A all-conference team, the Metro 4A conference tournament MVP, the NCBCA District VI player of the year and to the Times News all-region first team. Playing her freshman year at River Mill, she helped the team to the state regional finals and was an all-conference and state regional all-tournament selection. Shay is the daughter of Tracy L.H. and former High Point women’s basketball player Tracy McIver Burnett.

“Shaylen is a fierce competitor who can play virtually any position on the floor and be very effective,” described Smith. “The consummate team player, she looks to get others involved and will do whatever is needed to win. Shay has tremendous court vision with the ball in her hands and has a knack for making plays. We’re thrilled she chose to stay close to home and wear the Elon maroon and gold.”

Johnson, a 6-3 center, has helped North Surrey High School to three straight conference championships (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13), a regional final in 2011 and two sectional finals in 2010 and 2013. As a junior during the 2012-13 season, she averaged 10.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 4.4 blocks and 2.2 steals per game. Johnson is a three-time all-conference player, a two-time all-district pick and a two-time All-Northwest selection by The Winston-Salem Journal. Also an accomplished volleyball player, Johnson helped North Surrey win the 2012 NCHSAA 2A state championship and was named the state championship MVP. She was a three-time all-conference player in volleyball and was named the conference’s player of the year in 2013. Off the court, she is an honor roll student. Malaya is the daughter of Christopher and Leslie Johnson.

“Malaya has a smooth and efficient game,” commented Smith. “She’s a skilled forward/center and is a terrific passer out of the post. She’s a proven winner and has been such a consistent force throughout her high school career. Her volleyball background has helped her with her footwork and timing. Malaya will come in and give us another strong presence in the paint.”

Sasser, a 5-11 shooting guard, led Apex as a junior with 13 points, five assists, five steals and three blocks per game. A first team all-conference selection, she helped the team to a third place finish in the Tri-9 conference and the second round of the state tournament in 2013. Sasser was named the team’s defensive player of the year last year and is currently in her second season as the team’s captain. Off the court, she is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Technical Honor Society and ranks in the top four percent of her class. Emily is the daughter of Robert and Andrea Sasser.

“Emily is a unique player in the fact that she can affect the game in a variety of ways,” said Smith. “She’s a stat-sheet stuffer. This lefty can score, rebound and defend. With her length and athleticism, she has the ability to cause havoc on the defensive end, often turning her steals, deflections and blocks into instant offense. She will fit into our style of play very well.”

All three players will be eligible to play for the Phoenix in the 2014-15 season.


  • Great news said,

    Awesome recruiting job Coach Smith and staff! Looking forward to seeing these young ladies in action. Heard the Burnett kid is the “real deal” and with Johnson and Sasser, things will continue to rise for the Phoenix.