Foster Inks Familiar Name

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Last updated: 11/16/2011 1:14 PM
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Women's Basketball
Foster Inks Familiar Name in Three-Person 2012 Recruiting Class
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Ohio State capped its 2012 recruiting season in quick fashion by signing three players to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period.

The class of three will put the Buckeyes at their full allotment of fifteen scholarships for next season.

Headlining the class is Ameryst Alston, a 5-9 guard from Canton McKinley. Alston is the 2011 Ohio Ms. Basketball award winner and was just the fourth junior to win the award. As a junior she averaged 21.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. As a sophomore she led the Bulldogs to a Division I state championship. ESPN Hoopgurlz raves about her ability to take the ball to the basket, but they also say she could stand to be a bit more aggressive on offense. They rank her as the 45th-best guard in the nation. She was also third-team All-Ohio as a freshman and sophomore.

Under Jim Foster the Buckeyes have grown accustomed to a dominating low-post presence, and perhaps the next in that line will be Lisa Blair, a 6-6 center from Brooklyn. As a junior she averaged 12.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game. She was also a 2010-2011 McDonald's All-America game nominee. Blair, a three-star prospect according to ESPN Hoopgurlz, is also ranked as the 38th-best center in the nation by the same publication. Last season she was honorable mention All-City. She chose the Buckeyes over South Florida, Morehead State, Weber State and LaSalle.

The third signee, Caitlin Craft, actually waited a few days longer to sign than the other two. If the name sounds familiar, it's because it should. Craft, a 5-8 guard from Liberty-Benton, is the sister of Ohio State sophomore point guard Aaron Craft. She was a First-Team Division III All-Ohio selection last season. Craft averaged 21.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 5.4 steals per game in leading her team to a state championship last year. Craft, a 4.0 student, broke her school's three-point shooting record as a sophomore.

The Buckeyes, one of the youngest teams in the Big ten, currently have just one senior on their roster, but she's a valuable senior. Point guard Samantha Prahalis will be the lone loss to graduation for next season, and it will not be an easy void to fill.

The effect that Prahalis' departure will have on this team will be heavy, but Foster will have several guards to choose from to help him out. In addition to the two guards signed in this class, he also signed three last season and also has junior guards Amber Stokes and Tayler Hill.

While it's unlikely that no one player will make up for the loss of Prahalis, the Buckeyes will have plenty of experience replacing a key contributor next season because they're going through it right now without four-time Big Ten Player of the Year Jantel Lavender.

How they handle it this year will go a long way in dictating how they handle the situation next season as well.

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