McNeill adds five new players to ECU women's basketball roster

Published: Jun. 12, 2019 at 2:23 PM EDT
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In her first season in charge of the ECU women's basketball program, head coach Kim McNeill signed five talented newcomers on Wednesday.

Sierra DaCosta – Guard – Philadelphia, Pa. – University of Hartford

One of the players will be a familiar face to the Pirate staff as Sierra DaCosta spent the past three seasons playing for Coach McNeill and her staff at the University of Hartford.

“Obviously there is a previous relationship with Sierra," said McNeill. "I coached her for three years and she was a huge attribute to our program at Hartford. I know she’s only going to do unbelievable things here at East Carolina, both knowing our system and being a leader on and off the court.”

DaCosta had a superb rookie season for Hartford and was named the 2017 America East Rookie of the Year and earned a spot on the America East All-Rookie Team. After a sophomore season that was limited to 18 games due to injury, the Philadelphia, Pa., native bounced back with a strong 2018-19 campaign. She was second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.1 points and tied for the team lead with 2.7 assists per game. DaCosta earned conference postseason honors for the second time, earning a spot on the All-America East Third-Team.

Taniyah Thompson – Guard – Hamden, Ct. - Hamden

Taniyah Thompson joins the team after a successful prep career at Hamden High School. The Hamden, Ct. native helped lead Hamden to a 62-21 record over her four seasons, culminating in earning the Southern Connecticut Conference (SCC) Championship MVP award as she helped Hamden win the first title in school history.

“Taniyah is a scorer," McNeill said. "She can score at all three levels. She has an unbelievable midrange game. A very, very good athlete and she’s a gym rat. She loves the game and her personality and demeanor will be a huge asset to our program.”

Thompson was a three-time First-Team All-SCC selection and First-Team All-Area as well as a two-time First-Team All-State selection. She left Hamden as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,877 points and was a McDonald’s All-American Nominee as well as the MVP of the CHSCA All-Star Game.

Katerina Tsineke – Guard – Thssaloniki, Greece – Hellenic College

Katerina Tsineke arrives in Greenville from Thessaloniki, Greece. Tsineke has experience playing at the international level, as she is coming off a season playing for premier club AS Niki Lefkadas in both the Eurocup and the Greek Basket League.

“Kat is going to be a huge asset for us," McNeill added. "She can shoot the ball at a high percentage and has a very high basketball IQ. Having that maturity and experience from playing international basketball will help her bring leadership characteristics to our team.”

Tsineke has also represented her country at the U16, U18 and U20 levels. She played in the 2017 FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship, averaging 6.7 points and 4.6 rebounds.

Xianna Josephs – Forward – Brampton, Ontario – Putnam Science Academy

Xianna Josephs is a native of Brampton, Ontario and spent the past season playing at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut. Josephs helped Putnam finish in third place at the 2019 Independent School National Championships, including leading Putnam in scoring in the opening round.

“Xianna Josephs was a kid that we had a relationship with," McNeill mentioned. "She's a versatile, face-up player that can also play with her back to the basket. She has range out to 15 to 17 feet. She really fits our system on the offensive and defensive end. She will be a great ambassador for this university.”

Josephs earned a variety of awards in Canada, including being named Biostell All-Canadian in 2018. She earned a Silver Medal at the 2017 Canada Games and led Team Ontario to a National Championship title in 2015.

Ryann Evans – Guard/Forward – Columbia, Md. – Archbishop, Spalding

Ryann Evans joins the Pirates after signing her letter of intent during the fall signing period. Evans was a four-year letterwinner at Archbishop Spalding in Severn, Maryland and also played for the Maryland Belles AAU program.

“Ryann is going to be a great addition to our program in multiple aspects," finished McNeill. "She is a very high IQ, hard-working kid that is just willing to do whatever needs to be done for our team to be successful, both on and off the court.”

Evans finished her high school career with 646 points, 604 rebounds and 200 assists. The Columbia, Maryland product served as a team captain at Archbishop Spalding as well.