LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women’s basketball team signed four outstanding prep players to national letters-of-intent in the fall signing period, coach Mickie DeMoss announced Thursday. Catina Bett, a 6-5 center from Gadsden City High School in Gadsden, Ala., Victoria Dunlap, a 6-1 power forward of Brentwood Academy in Nashville, Tenn., Amber Smith, a 5-5 point guard of Winter Haven High School in Winter Haven, Fla., and Carly Morrow, a 5-11 guard from Chattanooga Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tenn., have signed to play for the Wildcats next season.
“I think it’s a very solid class and we are very excited about it,” DeMoss said. “The first thing we were looking for out of this class was front line players. We needed depth in the front line with Jennifer Humphrey graduating and Sarah Elliott being a senior next season. We are very excited about Victoria Dunlap and Catina Bett joing that group. Victoria is just an all-around tremendous athlete. Catina is a true center who can alter shots defensively and do things for us at that five spot, Our next priority was the point guard position. Signing Amber Smith gives us great quickness and she can distribute the ball and knock down the three. We also needed another three-point shooter with Pfeiffer’s eligibility ending next season and Carly Morrow can provide that.”
According to the All-Star Girls Report, Kentucky’s recruiting class is No. 9 nationally, marking the second top 10 and fourth consecutive top 25 recruiting class for DeMoss.
Bett, ranked as No. 2 in The Birmingham News' Super Seniors Class of 2007, was named an Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) All-Star after averaging 16.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game last season for Gadsden High School, now known as 6A Gadsden City High School after a consolidation of several local high schools. She was named second-team all-state in Class 5A by the Alabama Sports Writers Association and ranks as one of the nation’s top 50 players by ASGR. She also is a competitive volleyball player. Bett chose Kentucky over Florida, Auburn, Alabama, and Mississippi State.
“She has a good presence on both ends of the floor,” DeMoss said. “She’s very mobile and agile for her size. That presence in the paint will be a key asset for for us.”
Dunlap, ranked the highest of the four recruits at No. 14 by ASGR, helped lead her high school squad to 19 consecutive wins to end her junior year, culminating in the school’s first-ever state title. She was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 state tournament and the team finished 26-7 overall. Dunlap averaged 14.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a versatile swing player during her junior year and is ranked No. 18 by Scout/HoopGurlz.com. She also ranks in the Top 100 by the Blue Star Basketball Report. An outstanding leaper, Dunlap excelled in track and field as well. She was named the Female Track Athlete of the Year by the Tennessean after winning the state pentathlon and high jump last season. She chose Kentucky over Vanderbilt, Florida and Kansas.
“Victoria is a tremendous athlete with a great work ethic,” DeMoss said. “I think she’s multi-talented. She can shoot, take it off the dribble or post up. She will be able to really step in and help us.”
Smith is rated the top point guard in Florida by Breakdown Magazine. She is No. 38 by the ASGR. A three-year starter at point guard for Winter Haven High School, she averaged 11.0 points and an impressive 9.0 assists per game as a junior. She was named the Lakeland Ledger’s 2005-06 Girls Basketball Player of the Year after helping her team finish in the state finals of the Class 5A State Tournament last season. Winter Haven recorded a 32-2 overall record and was ranked as high as No. 15 in the USA Today poll. The Blue Devils captured the Class 4A state title in her sophomore season with a 29-1 record. In her three-year career, WHS holds a 91-5 record. She was named first-team all-state in Class 5A her junior season and a third-team all-state selection in Class 4A by the Florida Sports Writers Association her sophomore season. Smith chose Kentucky over Miami, Vanderbilt and Clemson.
“Amber is the epitome of a point guard,” DeMoss said. “She is a great leader and is quick off dribble and can shoot the three.”
Morrow, a three-sport athlete at GPS, averaged 14.0 points, 3.4 assists and 3.2 steals per game last season for Chattanooga Girls Preparatory School. Ranked No. 34 by Scout/HoopGurlz.com, Morrow helped lead her team to the semifinals of the Division II state tournament with a 22-8 overall record. She started at both the point and shooting guard positions and was a first-team all-state selection her junior year.
“I look for Carly to fill that three-point shooting void after Nastassia Alcius and Jenny Pfeiffer graduate,” DeMoss said. “She is athletic and is a three-sport athlete. She’s very intelligent and has a good mind for the game. We think she’ll be able to step in and being able to do some great things for us early.”
An all-around athlete, Morrow also competed in soccer and track. She received all-state honors in soccer and was named “Best of Preps” in both basketball and soccer. She participated in the Pentathlon at the state level in track. Her track team claimed the state title in each of the past two seasons. Morrow committed early to Kentucky and didn’t seriously consider any other schools.