Laker Women’s Basketball to Welcome Eight New Lakers to the Program

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Lake Superior State women’s basketball program is set to welcome eight new Lakers as part of the 2023 recruiting class, as announced by head coach Brandon Lokken on (day of release). The class is made up of six freshmen (Breah GoldenLena PleaughMaddie BradfordMakenna ClementRyleigh Zinn, and Layne Sleight) and two transfers (Taylor Stacy and Iara Navarro).

“This year’s class brings such a great energy level and passion to compete!” said Lokken. “We are really looking forward to the addition of all these talented players to our program.”

Breah Golden

Golden, a native of Arcadia, Wis., learned how to win early on in her high school career, helping Jackson Northwest to conference, regional, and sectional championships, qualifying for the state tournament as a freshman, but when it came time for her to step up within the program, she would do so in a big way. She would be recognized for her leadership as a multi-year team captain, and her efforts on the court earned her First-Team All-Coulee Conference honors in consecutive years. In Golden’s junior season, she received Honorable Mention All-State honors and was named the MVP of her team, but she would arguably shine even brighter as a senior, once again being honored as her program’s MVP while also being named the 2023 Coulee Conference Player of the Year. 

Lena Pleaugh

Pleaugh, a native of Gwinn, Mich., a small town in the heart of the Upper Peninsula, has arguably shown the most grit and determination out of anyone in the 2023 recruiting class. During her sophomore year, Pleaugh would face one of the worst fears of any athlete, a season-ending injury, and she was even told that her sports career was likely over because of it. However, she was determined to get back on the court no matter what it would take. After all of her efforts with her recovery, she came back stronger than ever in the following season, averaging nearly 18-points per game, earning First Team All-Mid-Peninsula Conference (MPC) honors, and receiving the Gil Heard Courageous Athlete Award after proving wrong all that doubted the future of her athletic career after the injury. As a senior, she continued to improve her game, increasing her shooting percentages while nearly doubling her defensive production in terms of steals and blocks, and the awards came rolling in, concluding her high school career by being named First Team All-Conference, Defensive Player of the Year, Second Team All-U.P., and listed in the Detroit Top-100.

Maddie Bradford

Bradford will look to follow in the footsteps of her older sister, Grace, who is coming off of an impressive debut season with the Lakers that resulted in her being named the 2023 GLIAC Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Year. 

Maddie Bradford, a native of Maple City, Mich. played for a strong Maple City Glen Lake High School program that was led by her father, Jason, who served as the head coach. On the court, she would help lead Glen Lake to a Northwest Conference and District district championship in all four years with the team, and she was able to tack on three regional titles as well. However, after her junior year ended in a MHSAA Division III state semifinal loss and her sister moved on to LSSU, Bradford was able to take advantage of the spotlight. In her senior season, she would be named the team’s captain and step up in a major way, averaging 15.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game on her way to ending her high school career on top with a 2023 MHSAA Division IV State Championship where she went off for an outstanding 28-point, eight-rebound performance in the title game. She was named her program’s MVP after the season as well as to the Dream Team, All-Northwest Conference First Team, and to the MHSAA Division IV All-State First Team, marking the second-consecutive season that a Bradford received First Team All-State honors.

Makenna Clement

Clement, a native of Byron, Mich., competed for the Lake Fenton Blue Devils where she helped lead her team to a 23-1 record, averaging 8.1 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor and securing 6.4 rebounds as a senior. She would also make a strong contribution on the defensive end of the floor, with 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks per contest. Clement was consistently an All-Flint Metro League level performer in each season that she participated in throughout her high school career, including first-team all-league recognition as a sophomore. She is also a proven winner having won three conference championships while securing a pair of district titles as well. 

Ryleigh Zinn

Zinn, a Genesee, Mich. native, was a strong competitor throughout her high school career, with the multi-year team captain being named at least Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) Best All-State honorable mention in all four seasons while improving to the full BCAM’s Best team in both 2021 and 2023 in division four and three, respectively. In her four years with Genesee High School, she would twice be named All-State Honorable mention by the Detroit Free Press (2020, 21), once by Detroit News (2021), and twice by the Associated Press (2021, 22), and she was also named First Team All-Genesee Area Conference in each of her four seasons. 

As a junior, Zinn would lead her team to a district championship, a feat that had not been accomplished by the program since her parents attended the school, while averaging a 19 point, 11.5 rebound double-double on the year to end the school’s title drought. However, she would step up her game again as a senior, scoring 23 points and grabbing over ten rebounds per contest with improved efficiency. She would ultimately be named to the All-State Second Team by the Detroit Free Press for her efforts. 

Layne Sleight

Sleight, a native of Jackson, Mich., was an All-Interstate 8 level performer in each of her four seasons with the Jackson Northwest Mounties, including a pair of first team honors. On the court, she helped lead her team to an Interstate 8 championship as well as a pair of district titles. In her senior year, she would average 15.6 points per game while shooting 42.6 percent from the field while hitting 33.3 percent from beyond the arc to propel her team to a 23-2 overall record to conclude her final season of high school basketball on a high note. 

Taylor Stacy

Stacy, a native of Toledo, Ohio, comes to LSSU after spending her first two collegiate seasons at Cedarville where she appeared in 45 games for the Yellow Jackets and hit over 30 percent of her three-point attempts.

Prior to her time at Cedarville, Stacy proved to be a strong weapon from beyond the arc at Northview High School where she was a four-year letterwinner. At Northview, she set multiple school records, having the most three-point field goals in a season (69) and in a game (9 x2) in program history. The sharpshooter would go on to conclude her high school career with a three-point percentage of .447, the fourth best mark in Ohio high school history. 

As a high school senior, Stacy would average 12.5 points per game while shooting 45.6 percent from distance, helping lead her team to a 19-4 overall record and a district title. For her efforts, she was named to the All-Northern Lakes League First Team, OHSAA Division I All-District First Team, and OHSAA Division I All-State honorable mention. 

Iara Navarro

Navarro, a six-foot-two native of Parana, Entre Rios, Argentina, appeared in 41 games for the Lake Region State College Royals, starting 37. In her second year with the program, she would score an efficient 55 percent of her attempts from the field while securing 8.1 rebounds. She would also make a strong impact on the defensive end of the floor, earning 1.6 blocks per contest. One of her top performances of the season came in a victory over Williston State College in which she would produce a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double while also coming away with five steals on the defensive end of the floor. 

“On the basketball court, we add a ton of great shooting from the guards,” said Lokken. “Then, when you talk about the post players, they add size as well as athleticism at the position. The combination of all of that is going to have a great impact on our team both offensively and defensively, but maybe more important than that is what this group brings off the court. This class is full of high character student-athletes that play the game the right way.”

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