Dan Carr, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
JEFFERSON CITY – Head coach Andrea Mize announced her first signing class on Wednesday (Aug. 5), as 12 athletes have committed to continuing their playing careers with the Lincoln women’s basketball team, beginning with the 2020-21 season.
Lauren “Niyah” Jackson (Williston, Fla.), Ashtin Ingram (Wildwood, Fla.), Amya Milligan (Raytown, Mo.) and ChloeHelming (Jefferson City, Mo.) will join the Blue Tigers as sophomores with three seasons of eligibility, while HaylieHolloway (Fort Myers, Fla.), Deija Jackson (Tallahassee, Fla.), Joseline Ramos (Orlando, Fla.), Kiara Cadore (Mims, Fla.), Simone Jordan (Grandview, Mo.) and Criste’On Waters (Edwardsville, Ill.) will enter as juniors with two seasons of eligibility. Ajanee Bradley (Kansas City, Mo.) and Aliyah Bello (Blue Springs, Mo.), meanwhile, enter Lincoln as true freshmen with four years of eligibility.
“Our 2020 class will feature a ton of new faces, with us only returning three players from last year’s team,” Mize said. “My staff and I really went the extra mile in getting players with grit, toughness, heart and character, as we look to build a culture for the future with this recruiting class. We cannot wait to get this talented and determined class on campus, and start building for the future.”
Niyah Jackson, a 5-5 point guard, played for Mize at the College of Central Florida last season, averaging 11.7 points, the second-most on the team. A first team all-conference selection, she helped the Patriots to a winning record while also averaging 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals.
“Niyah is an explosive guard, who many have doubted because of her size,” Mize said. “She had a breakout season as a freshman, leading the starters in scoring. She will bring us such an edge going into this year at Lincoln.”
Another transfer from the College of Central Florida, Ingram is a 6-2 forward who averaged 5.3 points in an injury-shortened freshman season. A .416 shooter from the field, Ingram additionally shot .344 from three-point range and .813 at the line while tallying 4.2 boards per night.
“Ashtin had a good freshman year, even though injuries kept her sidelined a few times,” Mize said. “Her length and versatility are crucial for us to compete in this league, and I look forward to getting her at 100% health.”
A 5-6 guard, Milligan played in 14 contests and averaged 2.1 points as a freshman at Iowa Central Community College. Milligan helped the Tritons win 17 games and reach the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Region XI tournament. She played her high school ball at Raytown South where she earned second team and honorable mention all-conference accolades.
“Amya is scrappy and passionate about basketball, and we are excited to have her join us here at LU,” Mize said.
This will be a homecoming for Helming, as the 6-1 forward led Jefferson City to the Class 5 championship game in 2018-19. Helming spent last year at Westminster, appearing in six games for the Blue Jays.
“We had the opportunity to bring Chloe back to her hometown here in Jeff City, and we took it. We are excited to have her with us,” Mize said.
Holloway, a 5-5 point guard, averaged 5.4 points and 4.3 assists while playing for Mize with the Patriots last season. Holloway started 19 games at CCF and shot .430 from the floor while averaging 1.3 steals.
“Haylie was the extension of myself while we were at Central Florida,” Mize said. “She is a great leader, a floor general, and was an integral part of Niyah Jackson’s success, as she truly took her under her wing after being sidelined with an injury. I am excited to have both Haylie and Niyah back on the court together, and know that Haylie will bring so much to this program, not only on the court, but in the locker room as well.”
Deija Jackson, another transfer from the College of Central Florida, is a 5-9 forward who played in all 34 games last season, making 11 starts. She averaged 4.3 points while helping the Patriots win 19 contests.
“Deija is one of the toughest players I have had the privilege to coach,” Mize said. “I think her physicality will bother a lot of teams in this league. She was a huge part of our playoff and tournament run at Central Florida.”
A 5-7 guard, Ramos earned second team all-conference distinction at Florida State-Jacksonville in 2019-20. Ramos led the Blue Wave with 9.4 points per night and averaged 2.7 assists and 2.5 boards.
“Jos is a burst of energy that my previous team had to deal with multiple times last year,” Mize said. “She can play on both ends of the court at a high level, and is dangerous when she is locked in. I am excited to get her here at Lincoln.”
A 5-9 guard transferring from Clinton College, Cadore averaged 10.5 points while leading the program to a 14-3 record. Cadore also averaged six rebounds as she helped the Golden Bears make the tournament field for the USCAA Small College National Championship.
“Kiara has a high motor and will give us energy immediately,” Mize said. “Her ability to impact the game in a variety of ways will be key for her here at Lincoln.”
Jordan, a 6-0 forward, nearly averaged a double-double as a sophomore at Southwestern (Iowa) Community College last season, finishing with 14.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Jordan led the Spartans to a 9-7 record in league play and shot .460 from the field and .321 from three-point land, both of which led SCC’s starters.
“Simone brings toughness and grit to Lincoln after a phenomenal career at Iowa Southwestern,” Mize said. “I am excited to watch her excel in this league.”
Waters, a 6-2 forward, started her collegiate career at NCAA Division I Southern Illinois before transferring to Butler Community College for her sophomore season. At Butler, Waters averaged 10.8 points and grabbed 7.2 boards, leading the Grizzlies to a 28-5 record and a berth in the second round of the NJCAA Division I National Championship. Waters’ play also helped BCC win its first NJCAA Region VI championship in program history.
“Criste’On has proven to be a skilled post after a standout year at Butler Community College,” Mize said. “Her footwork and hands are top-notch and allow her to excel in the paint.”
Bradley, a 5-5 point guard, was a McDonald’s All-American nominee following a stellar senior season at Lincoln Prep. Bradley, a first team all-district honoree, led the Blue Tigers to a 22-5 record and a berth in the MSHSAA Class 4 Championship Game while averaging 12 points per night.
“Ajanee makes our backcourt even quicker, and I am excited to add her to our very talented point guard core,” Mize said. “She is a competitor and will make those around her better.”
A 5-9 guard, Bello earned first team all-district and all-conference honors at Blue Springs and was named the team’s Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year. Bello helped the Wildcats reach the state final four this past winter, and averaged 7.3 points, 4.2 boards and 1.5 steals while shooting .410 from the floor.
“Aliyah comes to Jeff City after a great high school career at Blue Springs High school, where they made the state semi’s before the season was called (due to COVID),” Mize said. “We are excited to have four years with her and to help her reach her full potential.”