ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s basketball has signed five new student-athletes set to join the program ahead of the 2018-19 season, the first year of competition inside Schar Center. The signees include Kayla Liles (Owings Mills, Md./McDonogh), Brie Perpignan (Alexandria, Va./Bishop O’Connell), Micaela Ryan (Clarence Center, N.Y./Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart), Duru Tasman (Istanbul, Turkey/St. Timothy’s (Md.)) and Tyja Traore (Atlanta, Ga./Lakeside).
“We are thrilled to welcome our 2018 class,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We believe this group will come in and contribute quickly alongside our returners. We’ll again have one of the youngest rosters in the country this year, which should generate a lot of excitement. I’m eager to get started and can’t wait for our fans to meet this team.”
Kayla Liles – Owings Mills, Md. – McDonogh School – Guard – 5-10
Notes: A two-time First Team All-Metro and Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) A Conference Team honoree, Liles comes to Elon after having a strong four-year basketball career at McDonogh School to go with a three-year volleyball career. She led the conference in points (13.9), rebounds (5.7) and steals (4.3) per game while shooting a league-wide best .544 as a senior, helping the Eagles to the conference finals. Liles was also named the Most Outstanding Player at the Governor’s Challenge as a junior while recording double-doubles in 25 of 30 games on the season. Her strong junior and senior campaigns came on the heels of being named McDonogh’s Most Improved Player after her sophomore campaign. Off the court, she was named to the school’s Honor Roll for six-straight terms. Liles played club for Team Takeover EYBL.
Quoting Coach Smith: “Kayla is a very smooth, experienced wing player. Growing up in Maryland, she’s been surrounded by a high level of basketball for years. Couple Kayla’s basketball IQ with her vast offensive skillset and you have a very efficient and productive player on your hands. She also has the ability to be an elite defender in the CAA.”
Brie Perpignan – Alexandria, Va. – Bishop O’Connell High School – Guard – 5-7
Notes: A four-year standout at Bishop O’Connell, Perpignan reached 1,000-career points during her junior season and was named a First Team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference honoree as both a junior and senior following Third Team honors as a sophomore. After being named All-Metro Honorable Mention as a freshman and sophomore, she was named a Second Team All-Metro performer after both her junior and senior campaigns. A McDonald’s All-America nominee as a senior, Perpignan picked up All-Arlington and All-Arlington Gazette honors in each of her four years of high school basketball while also being named All-NOVA as a sophomore, junior and senior. Other honors included being named MVP of She Got Game and Title Nine as a sophomore. Away from Bishop O’Connell, Perpignan played club for the Fairfax Stars and head coach Bob Dix.
Quoting Coach Smith: “Brie’s demeanor is calm, cool and collected at the point guard position. She stays even keel as the director and coach on the floor. She’s not rattled by pressure and she uses her offensive weapons to take advantage of her defender’s mistakes. Brie loves to get her teammates involved on the offensive end and she can be an absolute pest defensively with her ball pressure.”
Micaela Ryan – Clarence Center, N.Y. – Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart – Guard – 6-1
Notes: A four-year student-athlete in both basketball and volleyball, Ryan helped lead Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart to the Class A state championship game and the Monsignor Martin League title game three consecutive years in basketball, winning the state championship as a sophomore and senior. A team captain in her senior year, Ryan was named First Team All-Bee each of her final two years with the team after earning honorable mention as a sophomore. She sas also tabbed a New York State Top 10 Forward, a Western New York First Team Top 25 Girls honoree, a First Team All-Catholic honoree, a Class A Federation All-Tournament Team honoree and a First Team All-Western New York honoree as a senior, setting the school record for most points in a single season with 565 on the way to earning her the school’s Offensive MVP award. Finishing her senior season with 15 games of 20-plus points to go with 82 three-pointers and eight double-doubles, Ryan was picked for the Butler Mitchell All-Star Game after winning the LTE Showdown Three-Point Shooting Challenge. Her strong senior season followed a junior campaign in which she was named Second Team All-Western New York , First Team All-Catholic , BCANY First Team and Sixth Team New York State Sports Writer Association Class A All-State Team. Ryan closed her career with 1,526 career points, marking the second-most points in school history. She Also knocked down 230 three-pointers in her four years at the school. Away from high school, Ryan played club for WNY Rapids, WNY Baseline Elite and I-90 Elite.
Quoting Coach Smith: “Micaela can flat out shoot the ball. She can stretch the floor with her range as well as put the ball down and create off the dribble. She’s a very savvy defender using her length to her advantage, and she has a knack for rebounding out of her area. Micaela comes from a basketball family with two sisters and a brother who all compete with one another.”
Duru Tasman – Istanbul, Turkey – St. Timothy’s (Md.) – Center – 6-2
Notes: With a lengthy international career in tow, Tasman comes to Elon from St. Timothy’s School in Baltimore, Md., after moving to the United States from Istanbul, Turkey, and Bilfen High School. With the Turkish U15 and U16 National Team, Tasman played in the European Youth Olympics and finished seventh in the tournament. That came on the heels of playing for the Istanbul U14 Conference Team, earning first place and the Best Pivot of the Tournament. Playing with Fenerbahce SK in Istanbul, she played with the U14 team in 2014 and earned first place. Tasman also played for the U16 team in 2015 and 2016, earning third- and second-place finishes, respectively. Away from St. Timothy’s, Tasman played club for the Maryland Belles and coach Chris Armstrong. Off the court, she was named to St. Timothy’s Honor Roll two consecutive years, earned Cum Laude Society Fellowship for distinguished academic record and picked up the Martha Jane Noland-Nina Phillips Washburn Memorial Award.
Quoting Coach Smith: “Duru comes to Elon with a variety of basketball experiences. Her international experience in Turkey has helped her develop a mind for the game. Duru brings great energy and passion to the court, she’s vocal on both ends and is the consummate teammate. Her strength and offensive skillset to the arc will make things tough for her defender.”
Tyja Traore – Atlanta, Ga. – Lakeside High School – Forward – 6-3
Notes: Steadily improving throughout her four-year career at Lakeside, Traore was named the team’s Most Improved Player as a freshman and worked her way to First Team All-Region as a senior. Along the way, Traore earned Team MVP honors as a sophomore, junior and senior. She progressed from All-Region Honorable Mention as a sophomore to Second Team All-Region as a junior before making First Team as a senior. Traore was also named All-County Top 20 as a senior and finished her sophomore, junior and senior campaigns as the top shot blocker in DeKalb County. Away from Lakeside, she played club for Peak Team Engram National, taking the team title at Basketball on the Bayou. Traore also played volleyball for three years at Lakeside.
Quoting Coach Smith: “Tyja’s length, timing and toughness will make her an instant impact on the defensive end. Offensively, she has nice touch around the rim, can knock down the midrange jumper and is not shy about mixing it up for offensive rebounds. Tyja plays the game with a high motor and physicality that you love to see as a coach.”
The five future student-athletes will join a program that has made consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament while also winning 52 games over the course of the last two seasons. The 2018-19 Phoenix will play its home games inside Schar Center, Elon’s brand new 5,100-seat convocation center.