LARAMIE, Wyo. — While its main focus is clearly on the present, University of Wyoming women's basketball is also keeping a watchful eye on the future.
The Cowgirls (9-12 overall, 5-3 Mountain West Conference) have three signed recruits for next season. And all three appear ready to help out next season.
Current junior college sophomore Fallon Lewis and high school seniors Marquelle Dent and Whitney Gordon are wrapping up their final seasons at their current schools. The next stop will be Laramie.
This bye week in the Mountain West has allowed UW coaches a chance to get out and see their recruits in action.
"We keep tabs on them," coach Joe Legerski said. "We try to make sure someone on our staff gets out as much as we can. We're very aware of how their years are going and individually as well."
The 5-foot-9 Dent, daughter of former UW great Sean Dent, will come to Laramie as one of its most highly regarded recruits during the Legerski era.
Ranked as one of the top 50 point guards in the nation by ESPN.com, Dent is averaging 11.4 points, 7.5 assists and 4.2 steals while leading Regis Jesuit High of Aurora, Colo., to a 16-4 record in Colorado's top classification.
The assists lead all of Colorado; the steals rank her fourth in the state.
"(Dent) is hands-down my best player and the best player in the state," Regis coach Carl Mattei tells the Laramie Boomerang.
That's saying something since Regis has another senior signed with Duke and several other underclassmen being recruited by some of the nation's powerhouse programs.
"(Legerski) has landed a solid kid, a level-headed kid, a tough competitor. Now she has that poise and confidence about her that there's no fear," Mattei said.
"(Dent) is going to take Wyoming to the top. She's just got a gift that not a lot of Division I athletes have."
A native of the northern Wyoming community of Dayton, Lewis is fulfilling a dream that she has had for as long as she can remember.
"Ever since I was a little girl, all I wanted to be was a Cowgirl," she said this fall. "It's a dream come true."
Lewis played well as a freshman at Sheridan College last year, but she has taken her game to another level this season.
The 6-foot guard leads Sheridan (20-3) in every major statistical category: 15.8 points, 3.2 assists, 2.9 steals and 31.1 minutes. She is also second on the team at 6.1 rebounds.
Her all-around game will fit right in with Legerski's system.
Sheridan coach Frank McCarthy said, "The thing that's most impressive about her is she can play almost every position.
"She has played the point for us, she has played the two (shooting guard), she can play the three and four (forward spots). Our post player got hurt earlier and she played down low.
"It seems like she plays her best games when the stage is the highest."
Gordon, at 6-2, from Marion, Kan., hasn't had the team success the other two have had. Her school is 3-14 as she is surrounded in the starting lineup by four sophomores.
"(Gordon) is kind of a one-man gang right now," Marion coach Randy Savage said. "Teams are putting their best defender on her and have one or two more waiting in the wings to help."
But that hasn't slowed her down much. Gordon is averaging 14.8 points and 11.4 rebounds this season.Comment on this story
"She doesn't like it, but she understands the situation we're in," Savage said. "Her sophomore year she was playing for a state championship, but that's just the hand she's been dealt -- not a lot of participators in her class and the one below her."
With these three, UW has one scholarship still available for next season. Legerski said there's a chance he could sign one more player during the late period in April.
"We're excited about this class we've put together," he said. "We think they all can come in and contribute and help give us the depth that we've been lacking some this year."
Information from: Laramie Daily Boomerang - Laramie, http://www.laramieboomerang.com