Big Rapids, Mich. – The Ferris State University
women’s basketball team has announced the addition of three
talented student-athletes, who inked with the Bulldogs during the
fall signing period and will be freshmen in eligibility during the
The incoming recruits include out of state prep guard Sarah DeShone (Elkhart, Ind./Jimtown), standout West Michigan forward/center Nikki Arner (Ludington) along with guard/forward Ashley Rando (Jackson/Northwest).
“It’s so exciting that we won’t lose anyone after this season, yet we are adding three exceptional young ladies to our roster for next year,” said 12th-year FSU head coach Tracey Dorow. “As if practices weren’t already competitive enough, their additions should only strengthen our program.
“The pieces are all coming together and I couldn’t be more thankful for the individuals that have chosen to become a part of the Bulldog Basketball family,” she added.
Both Rando and Arner are coming off recent knee injuries, but have been ranked among the state’s top prep standouts throughout their careers while DeShone is regarded as one of Indiana’s most talented playmakers in the backcourt.
The 5-9 Rando is a three-time All-Capital Area Activities Conference (CAAC) honoree and a two-time Jackson Citizen Patriot All-Area selection at Jackson Northwest High School. She has tallied 757 points, 387 rebounds, 183 steals and 151 assists over the course of her three-year career to date. Rando averaged 12.0 points and nine rebounds per outing as a junior in 2008-09 after scoring a career-high 12.8 points per game as a sophomore.
"The first time I saw Ashley play with her AAU team I was impressed,” Dorow said. “She’s such a strong player around the basket, but can also step out and nail the trey as well as attack the basket to score or create opportunities for teammates. Plus, she's a lefty, which makes her even more difficult to defend.
“Ashley is also a relentless competitor,” Dorow added. “She’s so physical and works hard every single possession and that is the trademark of a winner. Her excitement about becoming a Bulldog is still evident today and I believe she’ll shine at Ferris both on and off the basketball court.”
The 6-2 Arner was among West Michigan’s leading scorers in 2008-09 by averaging more than 19 points per game for Ludington High School. She also tallied nine rebounds a game for the Orioles en route to attaining Class B First Team All-State accolades for a second consecutive season. Arner, who led Ludington to a 16-6 overall record last year and notched her 1,000th career point in the process as one of the most dominant player in the Lakes 8 Conference, was chosen to the Muskegon Chronicle Class A-B girls basketball team and named to the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) Class B All-State Team under prep coach Al Druskin.
"We saw Nikki play against one of our current players in Lindsey Pettit during the state quarterfinals when Nikki was a sophomore and we thought she had so much potential,” Dorow said. “She has very solid perimeter skills and a real soft touch around the basket. We were comparing her to our All-American Rachel Folcik even at that age and she has continued to improve each year.
“Her injuries have set her back a little, but she’s bouncing back well and eager to compete this year,” added Dorow. “Nikki was pursued by a number of Division I programs, but she seemed like a natural fit in our program and was comfortable with our players and staff. I think she could also envision what we are trying to build here - a team that vies for championships – and we expect her to make a major impact during her time at FSU.”
Finally, the 5-7 DeShone recently became only the fifth career 1,000-point scorer in Jimtown High School history. DeShone finished as the leading scorer in Elkhart County as a sophomore in 2007-08 at 16.3 points per game and helped the Jimmies notch a 22-2 record along with a Indiana Class 2A sectional championship while receiving all-area laurels. As a junior in 2008-09, she picked up Indiana Basketball Coaches Association All-State recognition. During the past two seasons, DeShone has led the Jimmies in scoring and guided them to a 38-7 overall record. They finished as the state runners-up during her freshman year.
“Sarah played AAU basketball with current post player Katy Fox and came to camp at FSU going into her junior year where she earned our MVP award because she made everyone on her team better,” said Dorow. “She reminds me a lot of former Bulldog standout Kristin Reinhart with exceptional three-point range, a deadly pull-up jumper and the ability to find ways to get to the basket and score or draw fouls.
“Her biggest weakness is that she’s too unselfish, which coming into a collegiate program could be a strength,” Dorow added. “With Becci Houdek going into her final year next season, we knew we needed to recruit a point guard who could learn the ropes quickly and be ready to take control on the floor. Sarah’s that type of player and is preparing well to make the transition to Ferris.”
The Bulldog women’s basketball team, which is currently 2-6 overall and 1-4 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action, next hits the floor with a pair of non-league games at Southern Indiana and Oakland City (Ind.) on Dec. 30-31. Ferris has currently won 10 games or more 13 consecutive seasons and made 10 consecutive GLIAC Tournament appearances to date.