Buffs Bolster Up 2022
BOULDER—Colorado women's basketball is slated to open the 2021-22 season against Oklahoma State in a matter of hours, but the team was busy building for 2022-23 on Wednesday.
Head coach JR Payne welcomed the additions of Lizzie Holder (Stillwater, Minn.), Ally Fitzgerald (Ballwin, Mo.), Jada Wynn (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Brianna McLeod (Brampton, Ontario).
"We are extremely excited to announce our 2022 class and are honored that these young ladies have chosen the University of Colorado as their next home," Payne exclaimed. "All four of our signees come to CU from winning cultures and will be tremendous contributors to our program and our Boulder community. They are highly intelligent, highly motivated and will be a class that Buff fans will love for many years to come."
Holder, a 6-1 forward, will have lettered in all four years at Stillwater Area High School. She averaged 10.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game in 2020-21. She was First Team All-Conference in both basketball and tennis. She's ranked the No. 9 player in Minnesota by jrallstar.com and is listed No. 15 by Prep Hoops MN. Holder was the Prep Girls Hoops Breakout Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2020. She helped her club team, the Minnesota Fury, to a second-place finish at the 2022s UAA Championship.
Holder comes from an athletic background. Her father, Rob, was a DI wrestler and played and coached ruby on Team USA. Her older brother Will (football/rugby) and older sister Katie (soccer) both attended Army West Point and are still active military.
"Lizzie is a great fit for the University of Colorado and our style of play," Payne said. "She is tough, gritty and has a tireless motor. She is a lights-out shooter and loves to defend, which will help her contribute to our success very early in her career."
Fitzgerald, a 6-3 forward, is a multi-sport athlete at Marquette High School, lettering in basketball, lacrosse and cross country. On the court, she averaged 9.4 points and 9.4 rebounds last season. She was a Second Team All-Conference selection, elevating her back-to-back honorable mentions as a freshman and sophomore. She's Marquette's single-season and career leader in blocks, averaging 3.8 per game in her junior season. She played AAU for BlueStar St. Louis and was the BlueStar Basketball Top Performer for July 2021. Fitzgerald's father, Matt, played football at the Ohio University.
"Ally comes to CU with tremendous upside and work ethic," Payne noted. "She is an elite rebounder with a high motor who can run the floor as well as anyone. Ally loves to block shots and defend and will bring a competitive spirit to everything we do."
Wynn, a 6-0 guard, spent her first three years of high school at King's High School in Seattle, Wash., before transferring to Troy High School in Fullerton, Calif. She was First Team Emerald Sound Conference as a freshman and junior at King's. Wynn holds a 16.0 career scoring average and led her team in offensive rebounds and assists. Wynn missed her sophomore season due to injury. She also plays club for West Coast Premier. Her mom, Jody, played basketball at USC and her parents have coached at Long Beach State and Washington.
"Jada is the epitome of versatility and has a genuine love for the game of basketball," Payne added. "She has one of the highest basketball IQs that I've seen in a young player and comes to CU with a clear understanding of what it takes to be successful. I expect Jada to be ready to transition from high school to college very quickly upon arrival in Boulder and know that she will have a great impact on our program"
McLeod, a 6-3 forward, comes to CU from the Great White North. She plays for Kings Christian and was a member of the Canada Elite. She's currently averaging 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Before King's Christian, she averaged 6.0 points per game at Excel Hoops Prep in 2019-20 and was a member of the 2020 Kia Nurse Elite 16U EYBL roster.
"Bri's impact will be felt immediately as she is long, strong and extremely athletic," Payne expressed. "Bri's rare combination of size and skill will allow her to contribute very early in her career. Coming from one of the best programs in Canada, Bri is used to playing at a high level and will have the ability to make a difference in our frontcourt upon arrival."
Colorado will continue on the road this weekend at Air Force (Nov. 14), before hosting Marquette (Nov. 19) in its home-opener.