BERKELEY – The Cal women’s basketball family just keeps on growing. Over the weekend, head coach Lindsay Gottlieb surprised her players by revealing that she and longtime partner Patrick Martin are pregnant with their first child. On Wednesday, Gottlieb announced two more exciting additions,
as Kianna Smith and Alaysia Styles signed their National Letters of Intent for the 2017-18 season.
Smith, a combo-guard from Moreno Valley, Calif., and Styles, a 6-2 wing from San Marcos, Calif., are both five-star recruits, ranked top-10 nationally in their respective positions. Cal’s recruiting class is ranked 12th in the country, the Bears’ third top-15 class in the last four seasons.
“I have been waiting since the spring, when Kianna and Alaysia both committed to Cal, to share our excitement over what they will bring to our team and this community,” Gottlieb said. “These are two young women that are elite both on the court and in the classroom. I want to commend my assistant coaches for continually working on the recruiting trail to find the best players, the brightest students, and young people that will continue to enhance the positive culture we have built with Cal Women’s Basketball. In Kianna and Alaysia, we are proud to sign a recruiting class that will help to keep our program amongst the nation’s elite. We could not be more excited to have them both join our family.”
The sixth-ranked guard in the country, and No. 21 recruit overall according to ESPN HoopGurlz, Smith’s basketball roots run deep. Her father, John, is the associate men’s head coach at Cal State Fullerton, where her older brother, Jamal, is a redshirt freshman. Uncle Steve Smith is an assistant coach in the WNBA for the Connecticut Sun while another uncle, Keith Jones, is Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations/Head Athletic Trainer for the Houston Rockets.
“It’s clear that Kianna is a ‘coach’s kid’ in the best sense of the word,” said Gottlieb. “A thoughtful, high-IQ player, she has continued to improve every time I've see her play. Kianna can run the show as a point guard or score like a shooting guard. She is calm and graceful on the court, and has a tremendous work ethic off it. Cal fans will love watching her complete skill set when she’s wearing blue and gold.”
A first team All-State, All-CIF, All-Orange County selection last season at Troy High School, Smith adds length and athleticism to the Bears backcourt. Smith plays her club ball for West Coast Premier and was the 9th-ranked point guard in the 2017 recruiting class according to Prospects Nation (No. 27 overall).
“To get an education at the number one public university and play in the best conference in the country made my decision to be a Bear that much easier,” Smith said. “I believe Coach Lindsay has built something special, and I’m so glad I get to be a part of it.”
Fellow Southern California product Stylesis an explosive wing with great athleticism and length. And she’s no stranger to Haas Pavilion. Smith won a state championship on Pete Newell Court during her sophomore year of high school, posting 10 points, 14 rebounds, and eight blocks to lead La Jolla Country Day School past Eastside College Prep for the 2015 CIF Division V title.
“Alaysia – ‘Birdie’ as she’s nicknamed - is a dynamic athlete that makes the game of basketball look easy,” said Gottlieb. “She is long and skilled, and represents the ‘modern’ player that can excel at multiple positions and pose mismatches for opponents. Bird is perfect fit in our up-tempo style, and has unlimited potential to keep improving. She is a fierce competitor who loves to play the game and will be a fan favorite in Haas as soon as she puts on a Cal uniform.”
The eighth-ranked wing and No. 43 recruit overall according to ESPN HoopGurlz, Styles was a First-Team All-League and First-Team All-CIF San Diego Section selection last season, while also earning All-Academic team honors. The 6-2 small forward plays club for the Wiggin Waves and is the 30th-ranked player in this year’s class, according to Prospects Nation (No. 6 wing).
“On my official visit I felt an instant rush of happiness from the players and coaching staff, and knew this was my home away from home,” Styles said. “Academics also played a key role in my decision because I will not always be able to play basketball, but I will always be a Cal graduate.”
Styles averaged over 17 points and 9 rebounds per game last season and participated in trials for the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team this past May in Colorado Springs.
“These are two remarkable young women who have already had an impact on our program because of their abilities, their intellect, and their magnetic personalities,” Gottlieb said. “We cannot wait for our 2017 signing class to arrive on campus, as they already are a part of our Cal Women’s Basketball Family.”
Learn more about Cal’s NLI signees in their bios below:
Hometown: Moreno Valley, Calif.
High School: Troy
Club Team: West Coast Premier
High School/Club Ball: ESPN HoopGurlz five-star prospect with a scout grade of 98 (out of 100)…No. 9 point guard and No. 27 player overall according to Prospects Nation…1st Team All-State, All-CIF, All-Orange County and league MVP last season at Tory High School…Father, John Smith, is the associate head coach of the Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team
What they’re saying:
The 6’0? guard has the tools to create her own looks and has an attacking mentality to capitalize on the opportunities that they create. She has a little length to go with a wiry build and moves on both ends of the floor with a fluid athleticism. – Mark Lewis, Blue Star Media
“Athletic off-guard who can manufacture and elevates with smooth stroke in mid-range game to the arc. A triple-threat attack breaks down defender with a fluid floor game.” – Dan Olson, ESPNW Hoopgurlz
Hometown: San Marcos, Calif.
High School: La Jolla Country Day School
Club Team: Wiggin Waves
High School/Club Ball: ESPN HoopGurlz five-star prospect with a scout grade of 96 (out of 100)…No. 8 wing and No. 43 player overall according to HoopGurlz….No. 6 wing and No. 30 player overall according to Prospects Nation… 1st Team All-League, 1st Team All-CIF San Diego Section , and Cal-Hi All-State Team-Junior Class….Helped La Jolla Country Day to a CIF Division 5 Championship as a sophomore…Averaged 17.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game last season for the Lady Torreys…Participated in U17 World Championships Women’s Basketball Team Trials at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs
What they’re saying:
“Styles, a 6-1 swing player from San Diego, Calif., fits the Cal mold of wing-forward, drawing comparisons to current players like Mikayla Cowling and Courtney Range. She has the length to defend on the interior, which she has done plenty in her high school career, but she also has the agility to be effective as a perimeter player.” - Chris Hansen, Managing Editor of Prospects Nation
“One of the most furious stock risers in the 2017 class. She's strong, athletic and explosive. The lefty has strong next-level possibilities.” - Dan Olson, ESPNW Hoopgurlz