Itemizer-Observer staff report
MONMOUTH – The last few month have produced quite a recruiting haul for Western Oregon University’s womens basketball team. Since March, it has added five recruits for the 2020-21 roster: Rian Porter of Hillsboro High School; Jewel Paaluhi-Caulk, a transfer from Concordia University; Averi Young of Crater High School; Madisyn Clark of Moses Lake High School in Washington; and Casandra White, a transfer from Peninsula Junior College.
Porter signed her letter of intent to play for WOU in June.
The 6-foot-1 forward averaged 14.2 points, 10 rebounds and 3.6 assists per games in her senior year at Hillsboro High School.
“Rian has a solid skill set with a lot of length and versatility. She can alter and block shots and gets a lot of deflections on defense. Offensively, she can play with her back to the basket, face up and get to the rim or shoot from the outside. She has good vision and can hit her open teammates on kick outs. Rian has a huge upside and I’m really looking forward to working with her this fall,” said WOU coach Holli Howard-Carpenter.
Porter earned Second Team All-Conference both her junior and senior years, along with holding a 3.8 GPA. She intends to major in business marketing while at WOU.
Paaluhi-Caulk, most recently played at Concordia in Portland, and will remain in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference after signing on to join the Western Oregon University women’s basketball team in June.
The 5-foot-3 guard, first saw action at Concordia as a true freshman in 2018-19 playing in 16 games before missing the final games of the year due to an injury. She also missed the 2019-20 season while recovering from the injury the season before. In her first year she had three starts for Concordia. Paaluhi-Caulk averaged 17.5 minutes, 5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and nearly two assists and a steal per game.
“Although it wasn’t in her plans, we could not be more excited that things worked out for Jewel to join our team. Watching her as a freshman in the GNAC two years ago, I saw a ton of energy and heart,” Howard-Carpenter said. “She is quick, strong and plays with no fear. Offensively, her vision and confidence make her a threat from anywhere. She can shoot the 3, get to the rim or distribute. Jewel also understands the game and is committed to doing whatever the team needs which makes her a great teammate.”
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Paaluhi-Caulk graduated from Kamehameha Kapalana High School where she was a four-year letter winner and team captain during her senior year, earning second-team All-ILH and Tournament MVP honors in her final season. As a junior, she was one of the top-10 three-point shooters in the state of Hawaii as the team ended up third at state.
Young is a 6-foot-2 center from Crater High School signed a letter of intent in March.
This past season, Young averaged 10 points, six rebounds and two assists per game.
“The first thing I noticed about Averi was her strength and toughness. She has such a great presence in the paint but can also step out and hit shots from the perimeter,” Howard-Carpenter said. “Averi has solid footwork, finishes well around the rim and will, no doubt, help us with rebounding. The thing I love most about Averi is her energy. She has a great voice and plays with a sense of urgency on both ends of the floor. She has so many things that can’t be taught and I’m looking forward to her joining us in the fall.”
Clark is a 5-foot-8 point guard/shooting guard from Moses Lake High School in Washington. She also played for the Northwest Express Extreme AAU team. Clark signed her letter of intent in March.
She played varsity all four years of her high school career, finishing the last two seasons as a team captain.
For her senior season, Clark averaged 14 points per game, five assists and two steals per contest. She capped off her career being named the Big 9 All-League MVP. Clark earned All-League first team honors as a junior and was honorable mention as a sophomore when her team placed third at state. Clark also was an all-star game selection.
“Madi is a competitor and proven winner from a great high school program,” Howard-Carpenter said. “She plays extremely hard on both sides of the ball and will be able to contribute for us right away. She is a pure shooter and has great court vision. Her ability to score and distribute makes her hard to guard in the open court. Madi will help our transition game and will add a three-point threat which is something we have been missing.”
White, a 5-foot-9 guard is a junior and transfer from Peninsula Junior College. She signed her letter of intent in April.
She started her career connecting on over 42 percent from three-point range (third-best in the conference), while averaging just over seven points per game, along with 4.4 rebounds a game in 21 total games that included six starts. Six times she scored in double-figures, reaching a season-high 18 at Everett. White added to that her sophomore year averaging 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and hit on 32 percent from long range and was once again named a team captain.