Aggies sign high-scoring guard duo to National Letters of Intent

Nov. 8, 2017

DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis head women's basketball coach Jennifer Gross reloaded her backcourt with a pair of signings on Wednesday afternoon during the NCAA's early fall signing period, inking local standout Makaila Sanders and Washington native Cierra Jo McKeown to National Letters of Intent.

Sanders, a 5-9 guard from Sacramento's Foothill HS, and McKeown, a 5-9 guard out of Walla Walla Community College and Touchet, Wash., will join the Aggies for the 2018-19 campaign. McKeown is the first junior college transfer in the program's Division I history and the first since Tatiana Armstrong (College of San Mateo) in 2006-07.

"We are very excited to add Cierra Jo and Makaila to our Aggie Family," Gross said. "They both epitomize what we look for in our student-athletes: great character, motivated students, and highly skilled competitors. They will both fit nicely into our system and compliment our returning players."

Brief bios on the two signees are below.

UC Davis officially opens the 2017-18 season on Friday (Nov. 10) at 7 p.m., welcoming Washington State to The Pavilion in a rematch of last year's Women's National Invitation Tournament "Sweet 16" match-up won by the Cougars in Pullman, Wash.

Cierra Jo McKeown NLI graphic

CIERRA JO McKEOWN (5-9, Guard, Touchet, Wash. / Touchet HS / Walla Walla Community College)
Is entering her sophomore season with the Warriors after ranking fifth in the Northwest Athletic Conference at 21 points per game as a true freshman, shooting 44 percent from the floor and 37 percent from beyond the arc… Helped Walla Walla Community College to a share of the Northwest Athletic Conference East Region title with a 14-2 record and advanced her team to the NWAC Championship game in 2017, scoring a career-high 39 points in the overtime affair… She earned first-team all-region honors and was the region's freshman of the year as well as earning a spot on the NWAC All-Academic Team… Was a four-year varsity letter winner for Touchet HS, averaging better than 22 points per game in each of her four prep seasons… A four-time first-team all-conference and two-time first-team all-state selection, she averaged 25.9 ppg and 8.1 rpg to go along with 7.1 apg and 5.7 steals per game as a senior… Led the state of Washington in scoring as a junior at 26.5 ppg to go with 9.6 rpg… Averaged a double-double as a sophomore with a prep-best 26.6 ppg and 10.0 rpg… Set the school scoring record with 2,356 career points.

HEAD COACH Jennifer Gross: "Cierra Jo is an elite shooter who can stretch defenses with her range. She can score from anywhere on the court, but is also a great passer with excellent vision. With two years of collegiate experience, we feel Cierra Jo will be ready to contribute right away. We are excited to get her into an Aggie jersey."

Makaila Sanders NLI Graphic

MAKAILA SANDERS (5-9, Guard, Sacramento, Calif. / Foothill HS)
Enters her senior season at Foothill HS after earning All-Metro honors from the Sacramento Bee as a junior, averaging 23.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 6.8 apg, and 4.1 spg, in 31 contests, shooting 40 percent from the floor… Helped the Mustangs advance to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championships with a 27-6 overall record… Earned Pioneer Valley League MVP and all-league first team honors along the way… Began her prep career at Rio Linda HS, averaging 20.5 ppg and 8.4 rpg as a freshman for the varsity squad, leading the Lady Knights to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III finals… Was named the Tro-County Conference MVP as a freshman, adding all-state and all-conference honors, as well as third-team All-Metro recognition from the Sacramento Bee… Twice earned the Varsity Student-Athlete Award as a sophomore and junior at Foothill HS, playing volleyball and soccer… An honor roll student, she currently ranks No. 4 in her graduating class… Enjoys music and playing the piano.

HEAD COACH Jennifer Gross: "Makaila is a physical guard and a great floor leader. She is someone who can put points on the board in a lot of ways. She is strong and finishes well at the rim, can knock down the midrange and also shoot the three. Makaila handles the ball extremely well and will provide depth in the backcourt. We are thrilled to have Makaila in our program."

ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.

PACK THE PAVILION!
Season and single-game tickets for UC Davis men's and women's basketball are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at UCDavisAggies.com.