Benedictine College Head Women's Basketball Chad Folsom is very excited to announcing the signing of six new Lady Ravens who will join his team next season. The incoming class includes five freshmen and one transfer. The Incoming freshmen are Samantha Brennan, McKenzie Funston, Brynn Maul, Jane Pennefather and Natalie Smaron. They will be joined by transfer Grace Brzozowski.
This year's recruiting class comes from all over the country, hailing from Missouri, Kansas, Virginia, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
The newest group of Lady Ravens will be joining a team that qualified for the NAIA Div. I Women's Basketball National Championship for the third straight season – and fourth time in five years – finished second in the Heart of America Athletic Conference with an overall record of 25-9 and a final ranking of No. 13 in NAIA Div. I.
Samantha (Sam) Brennan is coming to Benedictine College from Notre Dame High School in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Sam is a 5'8" combo guard who led her team averaging 12.7 points, 3 steals, 4.3 rebounds, and 5 assists per game her senior year, while earning All-Conference, All-District, and All-State honors. For her career, Sam score 845 points and set her school record for assists with 331. Sam is also a standout volleyball player who was named the Southeast Missouri Region Player of the Year. She also earned Academic All-State honors in both volleyball and basketball and is a member of the National Honor Society.
According to Coach Chad Folsom, "Sam is a very athletic guard who sees the floor well, attacks the basket, and can hit the outside shot. She is a team player who plays with a high level of confidence and will fit in well with our team."
McKenzie Funston is a 5'7" shooting guard from Abilene, Kansas, who is a four-year letter winner at Abilene High School. She helped lead her team to three NCKL League Championships and two trips to the 4A State Tournament. In her senior season, McKenzie averaged 13.3 points, 1.7 steals, and 3 assists per game and earned 1st Team All-League and 2nd Team All-State honors. For her career, she made 131 three-point shots. McKenzie is also a strong student and is a member of the National Honor Society.
According to Coach Chad Folsom, "McKenzie is a very good outside shooter with a high basketball I.Q. She plays hard with a lot of passion on both ends of the floor, and she will be a nice addition to our team."
Brynn Maul is a 5'7" point guard from Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita, Kansas. Brynn was a three-year starter for the Golden Eagles and helped lead her team to the 5A State Tournament all three years. In her senior season, she averaged 11.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 3.4 steals, and was named 1st Team All-City in Wichita, and 2nd Team All-Classes in Kansas. Brynn is also a very good student and is a member of the National Honor Society.
According to Coach Chad Folsom, "Brynn is an extremely quick defender who can harass the other team's point guard for 94 feet. She also can finish at the rim and hit the three-point shot. We are excited that Brynn will be a Lady Raven next year.
Jane Pennefather is coming to Benedictine College all the way from Manassas, Virginia, where she played for her dad, Dick Pennefather, at Seton High School. Jane, a 5'8" guard, was a five-year starter for her high school team, earning All-Conference every year, and was named Conference MVP and 1st Team All-State her senior year. She averaged 12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 3 steals her senior year while leading her team to the State Championship game. Jane scored 1,318 points in her high school career. She is also an excellent student and is a member of the National Honor Society.
According to Coach Chad Folsom, "Jane is a very smart basketball player who sees the floor well and has the ability to knock down the outside shot. She is a leader both on the court and in the classroom and will be a great addition to our team."
Natalie Smaron is a 6'2" post player from Maple Plain, Minnesota who played high school basketball at Orono High School. This past season, Natalie averaged a double-double in points and rebounds, averaging 11.5 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, along with 1.9 blocks per game. She helped lead her team to the Minnesota 3A State Championship and a 27-4 record, and was named All-Conference and All-State Honorable Mention her senior year. She finished her career at Orono H.S. with the school record for best field goal percentage (57%), most rebounds in a season (398), highest average rebounds per game (12.8), and most double-doubles in a season (17). Natalie also performed well in the classroom and was named Academic All-State.
According to Coach Chad Folsom, "We are excited that Natalie will be joining our Lady Raven family. She is a strong and athletic post who finishes well around the basket and is an aggressive rebounder on both ends of the floor."
Grace Brzozowski is a 5'11" forward who is transferring to Benedictine College after her first year at Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa Junior College. She averaged 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals this past season at Northern Oklahoma. Grace is from Harrah, Oklahoma where she played basketball at Harrah High School. Her senior year, she helped lead her team to the Oklahoma 4A State Championship game and a 26-4 record, while being named All-Conference and All-State. Grace is also a very good student, and was a member of the National Honor Society and was Valedictorian of her senior class.
According to Coach Chad Folsom, "Grace is a very skilled wing/forward who can get to the rim, knock down the outside shot, and post up. She immediately connected with our team on her visit, and we are excited she is going to be a Lady Raven."
"The Lady Ravens are very excited to have these six young ladies joining the Benedictine College women's basketball program," Coach Folsom said. "They have all been part of very successful high school programs, and all know what it takes to succeed both on the court and in the classroom. They are very talented basketball players, good students, and great people who will fit in very well with our Lady Raven family.