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Women’s Basketball: Roster Updates

It’s been a while since the season ended, but we have some big news on roster additions as the off-season continues so let’s take a look.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 25 Div I Women’s Championship - Second Round - Michigan State v Notre Dame Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the off-season continues for the Michigan State Spartans women’s basketball team, they continue to finalize the roster for next season’s team. I am past due for a check-in on the latest news so without further ado, let’s take a look at the new additions to next year’s team.

Janai Crooms

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 22 Women’s Ohio State at Rutgers Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last week on Friday the Spartans announced the former Ohio State Buckeye for the past two seasons will be coming to East Lansing. The 5-foot-10 inch guard is a native of Cranston, Rhode Island and played for the AAU team Mass Rivals.

At Ohio State, Crooms averaged 7.8 points and 2.8 assists per game. She played a key role off the bench this past season, including leading the team to the Big Ten title game with 15 assists while averaging 8.8 points per game.

Coming out of high school, Crooms was a four-star recruit ranked No. 36 in the 2018 class by Prospect Nation and No. 62 by ESPNW HoopGurlz. She was named to the American Family Insurance All-USA Rhode Island Girls Basketblal Team Player of the Year as a senior and was a two-time honoree.

Crooms transferring to MSU is a big coup for Coach Suzie Merchant.

Kendall Bostic

Arriving on campus this fall as a freshman from Northwest High School in Kokomo, Indiana is Kendall Bostic. If you are reading this while standing, you may want to sit down for this big of information.

Sitting now? Good. Bostic finished her career as the best shooter in the history of Indiana girl’s basketball. She shot a whopping 73 percent from the floor as a senior, finished her career with a 68 percent rate, and ranks third nationally in the country for career shooting while topping the Indiana record books. Overall she scored 2,032 points in high school while pulling in 1,040 rebounds.

Kendall Bostic played in three straight state title games in high school, including two state titles in the Class 3A championships and a runner-up finish as a senior in the 4A championship. Bostic was an Indiana Junior All-Star and is a member of this year’s Indiana All-Stars and was a nominee for the McDonald’s All American team.

Matilda Ekh

Matilda Ekh is a 6-foot guard/forward who hails from Västerås, Sweden. She is credited with possessing a wealth of international experience, having played for Luleå Basket for coach Robin Sandberg. During the shortened 2019-20 season, Ekh played with the Swedish First League and was named Rookie of the Year.

During the 2018-19 season, Ekh won the U-19 Swedish Championship with her high school team, Riksbasketgymnasiet Luleå, under coach Mikael Johansson. She was named MVP and earned a spot on the All-Star team. Ekh would also go on to be a captain of the U-18 Swedish National Team that finished fourth in the U-18 European Championship, B Division.

Ekh also captured the B Division of the U-16 European Championship for the 2017-18 season, once again earning the MVP honors. Ekh is the daughter of Anna-Karin Klang who played for Sweden’s First League, and Johan Ekh who played in Sweden’s Second League. It is a full family affair with the sport, though, as both her brother and sister play basketball in Sweden as well.

Lauren Rewers

Lauren Rewers will be joining the Spartan squad after three seasons as a Rainbow Wahine at the University of Hawai’i. Rewers is a 6-foot-4 center and is a native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. As a junior last season, she averaged 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Rewers led the University of Hawai’i in blocked shots last season with 19, which was good for ninth in the Big West Conference.

A graduate of Lake City High School, Rewers was a four-time first-team all-state selection, and she was a four-time first-team all-Inland Empire League. As a senior, she averaged 16.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 5.9 blocks, 2.1 assists, and 1.0 steal per game.

Alisia Smith

Penn State v Towson Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

When it comes to Alisia Smith in the incoming 2020 roster, we have a Lansing native coming home as a transfer out of Penn State. Smith is a 6-foot-3 forward from Waverly High where she earned first-team All-State honors and first-team All-Capital Area Activities Conference her senior year.

As a junior with the Nittany Lions last season, Smith averaged 6.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. She was fourth in scoring and tied for first in rebounding, while getting double-digit scoring in seven games. During the 2018-19 season, Smith started 23 games before suffering a season-ending injury. She recorded 11 double-digit scoring games and managed to notch five double-doubles. Overall, she averaged 9.5 points and a team-leading 7.1 rebounds per game, ending the season tied for 11th in the Big Ten in rebounding.

Jayla James

Penn State v Towson Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Another inter-conference transfer from Penn State, Jayla James joined the Michigan State Spartans 2020 class. The 6-foot-1 guard appeared in 17 games for the Nittany Lions as a freshman coming off the bench. She scored three points and grabbed 14 rebounds. She saw double-digit minutes against North Carolina Central University, seeing 11 minutes.

James was a three-star propect out of high school per ESPN HoopGurlz and is from Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Kayla Belles Transfers Out

Michigan State v Maryland Photo by Tony Quinn/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Unfortunately there is some bad news to the roster as the Spartans will lose their sophomore forward out of Ithaca, Michigan, Kayla Belles. The 6-foot-3 Belles announced in April she will be transferring to Brigham Young University next season. She averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds a game this past season.

Coach Merchant made the following statement regarding her decision to transfer to BYU:

“We loved having Kayla Belles as part of our program and, while disappointed she is leaving, wish her nothing but the very best at an institution that aligns with her faith and personal endeavors. She and her family are first class people, and they will always be part of our Spartan Family.”