With the start of school just weeks away, Bethel College women’s basketball coach Mark Fox announced a recruiting class of 13, including an NCAA Division I transfer, a transfer from another KCAC school and 11 incoming freshmen.


With the start of school just weeks away, Bethel College women’s basketball coach Mark Fox announced a recruiting class of 13, including an NCAA Division I transfer, a transfer from another KCAC school and 11 incoming freshmen.

Players signed include Brianna Bates of Waco, Texas, Brittany Bates of Waco, Texas, Shelby Goniea of Peyton, Colo., Ajai Brown of Oklahoma City, Krissy Stephens of LeRoy, Taylor Durant of Westminster, Colo., Jessica Ebenkamp of Conway Springs, Haley Bright of Wichita, Megan Suchsland of Agra, Valerie Wallsten of Burrton, Brieanna Zerger of Hutchinson, Brandi Florian of Russell and Faith Stowers of Douglasville, Ga.

Stowers is a 5-foot-4 guard who is transfering from Grambling State, where she competed in track. She attended Leavenworth High School for part of her high school career.

“Coming back to this area to finish her schooling excites her, and we’re glad to have her as part of our team,” Fox said. “... We look forward to the maturity she will bring to the team, and her athletic ability from her track background will help her as she adjusts to the college game.”

Stowers will have junior eligibility at Bethel.

Florian is a 5-10 forward who comes to Bethel from nearby McPherson College. At McPherson, she averaged 2.5 points a game as a junior and .63 points a game as a sophomore.

“Brandi comes to us after three years at McPherson College, where she was a big piece of their front-court puzzle,” Fox said. “She has dealt with the adversity of three coaching changes and has seemingly adjusted well to the demands and styles of each. The loss of her major, though, was an integral part of her decision, and we welcome her maturity, experience and presence she’ll bring to our front court.”

Brianna Bates is a 6-0 forward from Midway High School in Waco, where she averaged 1.8 points, .7 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals a game. She helped lead her team to a state title in 2009. She is a first-team all-district selection, was a Super Centex honorable mention and played in the Good Grades Game.

“We’re thrille to add Brianna to our family and Bethel College,” Fox said. “Like her sister, she brings an element of length and athletic ability to our perimeter play, and she also has the potential to be an early impact player for us. It will be exciting to watch her progress through the years as she adjusts and adapts to playing at this level. More importantly, we think both Brianna and Brittany will be terrific leaders and positive influences on this campus, during and after their time here.”

Brianna served on the Waco Youth City Council and was a member of Jack & Jill. She won the Panther Pride Award in high school. She intends to major in education.

Brittany Bates is a 5-10 guard-forward who averaged 3.6 points and 2.4 rebounds a game for Midway High School. She was second-team all-district. She chose Bethel over Texas-Dallas, East Central State (Okla.) and LeTourneau University.

“Brittany is a terrific young lady who we’re genuinely excited to add to our program,” Fox said. “She brings an element of length and athletic ability to our perimeter play, and has the possibility of being an early impact player for us. As with all freshmen, there will certainly be a level of adjustment to the physical nature and speed of the game in the KCAC, but we anticipate her being able to do this sooner rather than later.”

She is a member of the Waco City Youth Council, the astronomy club and the Spanish club. She is a member of the 7-Up academic club. She intends to major in pre-med.

Goniea is a 5-8 guard-forward who played at Falcon High School, where she averaged 4.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists a game. She was an all-conference selection, a team MVP and a four-year letterwinner. She chose Bethel over the University of Saint Mary and Nebraska Wesleyan.

“Shelby was a young lady we saw a couple of years ago while recruiting Melissa Irwin,: Fox said. “We’re glad to have her joining us. She is a kid along the lines of a Rachael Bachman or Amanda Hiebert in body type, which will suit her well as she adjusts to the physical nature of the college game.”

Goniea intends to major in nursing at Bethel.

Stephens attended Southern Coffey County High School, where she was a 5-8 forward. She averaged 13 points and nine rebounds a game. She was a second-team All-Lyon County League selection and a Class 1A all-state honorable mention. She is a Flinthills Optimist All-Star selection. She chose Bethel over Pratt Community College, Barton County Community College and Baker.

“Krissy comes to us late in the process, but we’re happy to have her become part of our program,” Fox said. “She’s a kid, who in high school, had to play with her back to the basket, but we expect her to become a versatile player who can face the basket and create some mismatches that way. We look forward to seeing her game expand as the years progress.”

Stephens also competed in volleyball and track, where she is a three-time state qualifier. She is a member of the FFA, choir, forensics, student council, Scholar’s Bowl and a Sunflower Girls’ State representative. She is a member of the St. John’s Lutheran Church, where she is active in the youth group. She is a 2011 Kansas Governor’s Scholar, the pricipal’s honor roll, the senior class valedictorian, a University of Kansas Honor Student and was a 2011 Kansas Honorable Mention Academic All-State selection. She intends to major in pharmacy.

Ebenkamp is a 5-4 guard from Conway Springs High School, where she averaged 7.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals a game. She was All-Central Plains League as a senior and honorable mention as a junior. She chose Bethel over Hesston, Southwestern and Bethany.

“Jessica is another great young lady we are excited to add to the program,” Fox said. “She has a high-energy motor, and coming from Conway Springs, we know those kids have been taught the value of work ethic and discipline. Ebie will be a tremendous edition to our family, and to Bethel College.”

Ebenkamp competed in volleyball, where she was second-team all-league. She is a member of the student council, the Cardinal Council, the National Honor Society and the band. She was on the principal’s honor roll for four years and was ranked third in her class. She intends to major in biology.

Durant is a 5-11 forward from Standley Lake High School, where she averaged 11,5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game as a senior. She was first-team all-conference as a senior and honorable mention as a junior and sophomore. She won the Heart of the Gator Award.

“We are extremely excited to add Taylor to our women’s basketball program,” Fox said. “With the graduation of both Holly (Anthony) and Sam (Askew), we needed to add some size, and not only does Taylor fit there, but she brings a level of athleticism to her position that will allow her to be multi-dimentional as she grows into the college game.”

Durant competed in volleyball, where she was a team captain and all-conference honorable mention. She was in the freshman mentoring program. She intends to major in early childhood education or athletic training.

Brown is a 5-5 freshman guard who attended Putnam City North High School.

“We’re excited to add another great young lady in Ajai to our family,” Fox said. “We look forward to watching her game expand through the years as she adjusts and adapts to the college game.”

Brown was active in DECA. She intends to major in business marketing.

Wallsten is a 5-6 guard who played at Central Christian High School in Hutchinson as a senior, leading the team to a Class 1A, Division II runner-up berth.

“We’re extremely happy to add Val to our freshman class,” Fox said. “She’s a young lady we’ve had on our radar for three or four years now after she came to our camp. Val will immediately bring quickness to our backcourt, and she utilizes it very well to disrupt offenses. She has shown the ability to get on a roll with her shot, so we’re looking forward to another player who can help us stretch the defense. She’s a very good student, and we’re anxious to see her progress through the years.”

Suchsland is a 5-7 guard from Phillipsburg High School, where she averaged 8.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals a game.

“Another tremendous young lady who will be an asset to the college and to our team,” Fox said. “A multi-sport athlete, Megan will bring that athletic ability and tough mindset to our practices, which will make everyone around her get better. She’s a great kid who we feel will just blossom as she encounters, and learns to deal with, athletes at this level.”

Zerger is a 5-6 guard from Hutchinson High School.

“Like Val, she’s just an absolute blur on the court,” Fox said. “But she’s also shown me that she can have very good patience and control of the team on the offensive end when it’s needed. Brie demonstrates a quite competitiveness that, I think, burns deeply within her, and we’re excited to see her as an addition to both Bethel College and to our program.”

Bright is a 5-7 guard from Sedgwick High School.