Bulldogs Add Four Standouts For 2014-15 Season
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball at Yale University, announced the incoming Bulldogs' Class of 2018 today. Guards Clara Mokri, Mary Ann Santucci and Tamara Simpson and forward Jen Berkowitz will join the Yale roster in 2014-15 as freshmen beginning this fall.
With an experienced core of returnees, including three starters, the addition of the four freshmen will bolster the Bulldogs' roster in their pursuit for the program's first Ivy League championship since the 1978-79 season.
"This is an outstanding class and each will bring an element to our team that we don't have," said Gobrecht. "They have to potential to be one of the best classes we've had here. They each chose Yale over many other offers partly because they want to help win the Ivy League championship here."
Berkowitz, a 6-foot-2 forward from Wayland, Mass., and a two-time captain at The Rivers School, averaged 16.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks as a senior leading the squad to a 22-3 record and an appearance in the NEPSAC semifinals. She was the only female in the state of Massachusetts to be nominated for McDonald's All-America and named the was Most Valuable Player of the Class B Independent School League championship after scoring 19 points with 12 rebounds. Berkowitz was a three-time New England All-Star and First Team All-League selection, and twice earned MVP honors at the Holiday Tournament at Rivers. At Wayland High School, she was a two-time DCL All-Star and was named the DCL Small MVP, while posting career-highs of 34 points and 22 rebounds.
"Jen is a versatile forward and a very skilled player with size," said Gobrecht. "She is strong enough to bang in the post, but can play on the perimeter. She can shoot the three-pointer, is an excellent passer and runs the floor well."
Mokri, a 5-foot-5 guard from Los Angeles, is a three-time MVP at Marlborough School. Mokri earned All-CIF Southern Section honors on three occasions, including twice being named to the second team. She was named the Sunshine League All-League MVP as a senior and was twice named the Marlborough Athlete of the Year. A standout in track and field as well, Mokri was a league champion in the 400-meter and 4x400-meter relay events, leading to a pair of All-League First Team honors.
"Clara is a quick, tenacious guard who is good for our style of play," said Gobrecht. "She can step in to play a fast-paced style and is not afraid to mix it up, which is what we want to be able to do."
Santucci, a 5-foot-9 guard from Seattle, Wash., averaged 18.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game as a senior and became just the fifth player in Seattle Prep girl's basketball history to score 1,000 career points. A four-year starter and captain as a senior, Santucci was a two-time team MVP and earned First Team All-Metro honors as a junior and senior and led the league in scoring in 2014. Santucci was voted to the 2014 3A All-State senior team by the Washington State Girl's Basketball Coaches Association and was a two-time All-State Tournament Second Team selection and helped Seattle Prep to the state championship game in 2013. Also a standout on the soccer field, Santucci earned All-State, All-Region and All-Metro honors and led Seattle Prep to state titles in 2010 and 2011.
"Mary Ann understands the game extremely well," said Gobrecht. "She can play the point- or off-guard. She is a great competitor with a savviness to her game and is an excellent decision maker."
Simpson, a 5-foot-10 guard from North Babylon, N.Y., led Portledge School to its fifth straight Independent Private and Parochial Schools League championships. Simpson accumulated over 2,000 career points and was nominated for McDonald's All-American honors as a senior. She earned IPPSL All-League honors and was named the Player of the Year after leading the squad to the NYSAISAA Class C state tournament quarterfinals, an 18-5 record and the No. 7 ranking in the New York State Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association.
"We are really excited to add Tamara to our program," said Gobrecht. "She is a very explosive player in the frontcourt and has great speed and quickness. She's an excellent defender and will be a very tough matchup for other guards."
Report filed by Jeff Mead, Yale Sports Publicity