SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's basketball program has added two players to its 2014 recruiting class. Lisa Marie Sanchez, a point guard from Ventura College, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Mustangs, and Amanda Lovely, a forward transferring from Pepperdine, has signed a scholarship tender to join the team.
The announcement was made Friday by head coach Faith Mimnaugh and the Mustang Athletics Department.
"We are very excited to add such high-caliber people and players to our program," Mimnaugh said.
This past season, Sanchez earned first-team All-America honors in the two-year college ranks and was voted a co-California Community College Athletics Association State Player of the Year after helping to lead the Pirates to the state title. She'll be able to play immediately, with two years of eligibility remaining.
Sanchez averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game, shot 41.6 percent from 3-point range and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6 in 2013-14, leading the state in both of the latter two categories.
The 5-foot-3 floor general's impact was felt throughout the team, as she directed a VC offense that led California in scoring (82.6 points per game), field-goal percentage (48.1) and 3-point accuracy (40.7).
She also finished her Pirates career owning school records for assists in a game (17, surpassing a mark that had stood for 18 years), season (269, breaking a 29-year-old record) and career (447).
Mimnaugh said Sanchez's flair for creativity is similar to that of All-Big West Conference First Team guard Ariana Elegado.
"If fans love watching Elegado deliver incredible no-look passes, you'll love the show that Sanchez brings to the game," Mimnaugh said, calling her "a great facilitator and deliverer" who will "instantly make us better."
Prior to her career at VC, Sanchez starred at Centennial High School in Bakersfield, helping to lead the Golden Hawks to the Central Section Division I playoffs each year. She was chosen to the Bakersfield Californian's All-Area First Team as a junior and senior.
Lovely will also have two years of eligibility left with the Mustangs, deferred to 2015-16.
She started 15 of 30 games for the Waves as a sophomore this past winter, averaging 6.0 points and 4.9 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per game.
While leading Pepperdine in offensive rebounds (58), the versatile 6-1 inside-out presence showed range out to the 3-point line, hitting a combined 18 treys over the past two years.
She also led the Waves in free-throw shooting (at 78.8 percent) in 2013-14.
As a senior at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Lovely helped lead the Monarchs to a Division II state championship (as well as a No. 16 national ranking from MaxPreps.com), earning second-team all-area honors from both the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News for the second year in a row.
"Amanda Lovely had been on our wish list since her sophomore year in high school, so we are so excited that she chose Cal Poly," Mimnaugh said of the "highly intelligent forward" who was also an honor roll student at Mitty.
Lovely also played for Greece's U-18 national program.
"Lovely will bring great energy, defense and multiple ways to score," Mimnaugh added.
Sanchez and Lovely will join a group of five incoming players who inked national letters of intent to continue their careers at Cal Poly during the early signing period in November:
- Camarillo HS shooting guards Geralynn and Geraldynn Leaupepe;
- Sacramento HS point guard Zonyia Cormier;
- Glacier Peak (Snohomish, Wash.) HS center Nicole Fausey; and
- Clovis West HS forward Emily Anderson
Cal Poly is coming off a second-place finish in the Big West Conference standings, as well as an appearance in the conference tournament championship game for the fourth time in six years.
The Mustangs have advanced to either the NCAA Tournament or the WNIT for four years in a row, and have accounted for the Big West Player of the Year in four of the past five seasons.