The University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears basketball and volleyball teams added some new recruits Wednesday on the first day of the spring signing period.
The UCA women signed four for basketball and added six for either indoor volleyball or beach volleyball.
After signing Alana Canady and Carley Hudspeth in the early period, the Sugar Bears have added 6-foot forward Keturah Bingham, 5-7 guard Alexus Holt, 6-1 forward Ekaterina Karchevskaya, and 5-7 guard Shay Johnson.
“I’m really excited about our recruiting class,” said coach Rushing, who has compiled a 129-60 record in six seasons at Central Arkansas, including a 79-19 (.806) mark over the last three seasons. “They have a tremendous work ethic and are great competitors. Those are two key traits in championship caliber players, and that’s what we expect here, is championships.”
Bingham joins the Sugar Bears after two seasons at Southwest Mississippi Community College, where she led the Lady Bears to an 18-7 record and NJCAA Regional appearance in 2017-18, averaging 11 points and 7.5 rebounds per game with four double-doubles.
Holt comes to Central Arkansas after two seasons at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, where the Lady Wolves were 44-10 over the previous two seasons, including 24-5 in 2017-18. Holt averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season, and was named an MACJC All-Star and to the Region 23 All-Tournament Team.
Holt scored in double figures in 23 games, including a streak of 11 in a row, and topped the 20-point mark eight times while recording three double-doubles during the season.
Karchevskaya will arrive at Central Arkansas with two years of eligibility after playing her first two seasons at Panola College in Carthage, Texas. In 2017-18 she averaged 8.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game, scoring in double figures 11 times for a 25-7 Fillies team that claimed the Region 14 championship – their first in 40 years – and advanced to the NJCAA national tournament.
A native of Mogilev, Belarus, Kachevskaya is a member of the Belarusian national team and on the U16 team was the team’s leading rebounder and averaged seven points per game.
Johnson joins early signees Canady and Hudspeth as incoming freshmen, joining the Sugar Bears from Byhalia (Miss.) High School, where she was named to the Mississippi Dandy Dozen team – the top 12 players in the state regardless of classification – her senior season. She was a five -time All-District select, and a four-time team MVP.
The signing class group is split evenly, with three players joining the Sugar Bears for the 2018 indoor season, and three joining the Beach Bears for the 2019 beach campaign.
For the indoor team Liz Crist, from Jonesboro , comes to the Sugar Bears after helping lead Valley View High School to back-to-back-to-back Arkansas 5A State Championships. She is a 6-2 right side/outside hitter.
Maddie Bowles, 6-0, is from Strafford, Missouri, where she earned numerous awards for her performances in volleyball and track and field.
Lexi Miller, a 5-11 outside hitter, joins the Sugar Bears from Carl Junction, Missouri. A four Academic All-State honoree, she has earned all-conference first team recognition three times, all-district twice, and was named all-state as a senior.
The beach team has added another Conway player to join former Lady Cats Mackenzie Dear and Aly Brinkley.
A 5-5 defensive specialist, Haley Weber doesn’t have far to travel to join the Beach Bears after spending her high school career in Conway, where she earned all-conference and all-state tournament honors for the Wampus Cats, in addition to an American Beach National Championship in 2017.
“Not only is it the only university in the state to offer beach volleyball, but the coaching staff and record are very impressive," she said. "I was also drawn to UCA due to the proximity to home and the academics offered.”
“We are thrilled to add another local talent from Conway,” said coach Jeni Jones Chatman. “Haley will bring great athleticism and speed to the game.”
Kayla Cook, a 5’8” right side from Heath, Texas, makes the transition to the sand after earning numerous honors at Rockwall-Heath High School and the Skyline Volleyball Club.
Rounding out the beach group is 5-8 middle blocker Faith Hasness, from Spring Branch, Texas. A three-time all-district first-team selection at Canyon Lake High School, she was named Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore.