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Offseason brings roster overhaul for Weber State women’s basketball; WSU signs 5 players

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Apr 19, 2024

Robert Casey, WSU Athletics

Weber State women's basketball coach Jenteal Jackson, center, leads a timeout during a game in the 2023-24 season at the Dee Events Center in Ogden.

It’s a new era for Weber State women’s basketball as the spring begins the second season for Jenteal Jackson as head coach.

A team that included four fifth-year seniors, WSU went 8-25 in her inaugural campaign with a 4-14 mark in conference play — more Big Sky wins for WSU than in four of the previous five seasons, but ultimately a ninth-place finish.

Careers have closed for stat leaders Daryn Hickok and Jadyn Matthews, as well as seniors Laura Taylor and Sierra Davis. Seven non-seniors entered their names in the transfer portal or otherwise left the team this offseason — the most notable being sophomore Amelia Raidaveta, who took over as the starting center and has now signed to Nevada.

Six of the seven non-senior departures were players who committed to Velaida Harris and the previous coaching staff, with junior wing Ashton Adamson also leaving after playing in 27 games last season.

Guards Rita Satini, Kendra Parra and Kennedy Eskelson are WSU’s returning seniors. Post player Taylor Smith, who grabbed a larger role later in her freshman season, returns as a sophomore and guard Amanda Edwards is a redshirt freshman.

Photo supplied

Weber State's Taylor Smith, right, drive against Portland State in the first round of the Big Sky tournament Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Boise, Idaho.

That left Jackson with 10 roster spots to fill.

Jackson — and her coaching staff, which all returns — have signed five freshmen to the 2024 class. Three signed in November 2023’s early period and two more have added their names as the regular signing period opened Wednesday.

This offseason is allowing Jackson to establish the program under her leadership.

“I was happy to have those kids. They were great. There’s a million ways to do this job … we came into a group that was doing things differently,” Jackson said. “But it’s nice to feel like we’re on the track to bring in players we feel best fit the direction we’re headed … and really start to put our fingerprint fully on the program.”

One focus this offseason is size and versatility. For example, at 5-foot-10 to 5-foot-11, incoming freshmen Vanna Quintana, Fui Niumeitolu and Maya Davis are more guards than forwards, and 6-foot-1 Dakota Nap is a wing/forward hybrid. On last season’s team, 5-foot-10 Hickok was a wing/forward hybrid and 6-foot Matthews was a forward.

“I call them tweeners — players who can play the three and the four in our system, or kids who can play a variety of positions,” Jackson said. “More size gives us more wiggle room to play around with different matchups, just have more freedom.”

Additionally, Niumeitolu and Mata Peaua are Utah natives, joining sixth-year senior Rita Satini who sat out at WSU last season and was with Jackson at Westminster for one season.

“It’s fun to get more local kids at Weber and shift back to, you know — not being solely Utah-based, but we love to have Utah kids on the roster,” Jackson said.

With five scholarships remaining and six total freshmen on the roster, Jackson says the remaining recruiting focus will be on players in the transfer portal or from the junior college ranks to balance class size and experience levels.

“We’re looking for a kid who has some experience and can fill in some gaps,” Jackson said. “Things were a little unbalanced as far as classes but I didn’t want to go too heavy in the portal … and I don’t mind that we’re young. I think it gives a lot of room for growth and development over these next couple years.”

Below is a look at the new additions.


Davis is a 5-foot-11 player from Garfield High in Seattle. The Bulldogs went 21-3 and won Washington’s 3A state championship.

“She was on an incredible team and was a big part of their success,” Jackson said. “She was playing some high-level basketball so that will help her be able to play well with us. Good skill set. She sees the game really well and can pick apart defenses.”


Nap is a wing/forward hybrid listed as 6-foot-1 on her MaxPreps page. As a senior for Hazen High in Renton, Washington, she averaged 13.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.

“She’s a true 6-foot, strong, versatile, someone who can play several positions for us,” Jackson said. Really good IQ, skill set, and just plays tough. She’s a feisty competitor who wants to win and will help elevate us in a lot of ways.”


Niumeitolu is a 5-foot-10 guard who shone in her senior season at Alta High in Sandy. She scored 42 points in Alta’s season opener and went on to average 20.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game on shooting splits of 47% overall, 40% from 3 and 81% at the foul line as Alta went 19-4.

“Fui is a dynamic scorer, really athletic,” Jackson said. “Great around the rim, a really nice pull-up, mid-range game, shoots the 3 at a high percentage off the bounce and off the catch. So we’re excited about her scoring ability and she’s very steady emotionally on the court as well … we’re happy to have her.”


Peaua prepped at Bingham High in South Jordan before her family moved to the Reno, Nevada area. As a senior, she played for Bishop Manogue and averaged 13.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game, second in all categories for her Miners team that went 26-1 and won Nevada’s 4A state championship.

“Strong kid, extremely athletic, can be explosive and a lot of her potential is still untapped so I’m really excited we got her. She had quite a few Division I offers nationally,” Jackson said. “She’ll bring us a presence down low, athletic and versatile, and she’s going to have a great career.”


Quintana is a 5-foot-10 combo guard from Clovis, California.

“Vanna caught my eye right away when I saw her play. Just an elite skill set and someone who loves to be in the gym, and that’s something we focus on is we want some gym rats who want to get better,” Jackson said. “She’s a three-level scorer, great court vision … and brings us more size in that position that we’ve seen previously.”


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