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WLU women finish strong in recruiting

WEST LIBERTY — West Liberty University head women’s basketball coach Kyle Cooper is already looking forward to next year after seeing the two recruits he landed during November’s early-signing period close out their high school career with impressive senior seasons.

Jenna Riccardo, a 5-foot-10 forward from Beaver Local High School, and Karly McCutcheon, a 5-9 guard from Mohawk (Pa.) High School, each received numerous postseason honors after passing significant milestones on the hardwood.

“We were very excited when Karly and Jenna signed with us in November,” Cooper said, “but we were even more impressed by the way they played and all the well-deserved honors they accumlated during their final high school season.

“In addition to their obvious basketball skills, Karly and Jenna are outstanding students who will be terrific additions to our program and our university. We can’t wait until we’re able to get back on campus and officially welcome them to our West Liberty family.”

Riccardo earned All-Ohio honors for the second straight year after virtually rewriting the Beaver Local record book. The hard-working frontliner had 20 double-doubles in 24 games this winter, averaging 21 points and 13 rebounds a night to earn a first-team spot on the All-Ohio Division II team.

Riccardo repeated as the Columbiana County Player of the Year while adding Ohio Division II District 5 and Ohio Division II Eastern District laurels to her trophy case. The four-year starter finished her career with a staggering 1,767 points and 1,032 rebounds — both school records.

In the classroom, Riccardo was a National Honor Society student who maintained a 4.0 GPA while taking college credit plus classes and was Beaver Local’s female recipient of the High School Heisman Scholarship.

Forced to sit out her junior season due to injury, McCutcheon more than made up for lost time as a senior by leading the Lady Bobcats to a 24-3 record that included the first WPIAL Class 3A championship in school history. Mohawk rolled all the way to the Pennsylvania state quarterfinals before the tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

McCutcheon, who finished her career with 1,099 points, was honored as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Class AAA Player of the Year and was voted All-WPIAL and All-Section MVP by the WPIAL coaches after averaging a team-high 17.2 ppg. for the Lady Bobcats.

The senior standout holds every 3-point record in the Mohawk High School book. She set the school single-game mark with eight bonus bombs in a Jan. 21 victory and broke her own record two nights later with nine 3-pointers and a career-high 37 points in an 85-36 blowout of Beaver Falls. A 40 percent shooter from the arc, McCutcheon finished with the school’s single-season (91) and career (185) 3-point records.

A National Honor Society member with a sparkling 3.9 GPA, McCutcheon was a Peer Leader who also wrote for the school newspaper. She was Mohawk’s 2019 Homecoming Queen.

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