Staten Island, NY -- Tessa Wade, a sharp-shooting 5-8 guard from suburban Philadelphia prep power Lower Merion High School and a member of the Philadelphia Belles Girls’ Basketball AAU Club Team for the past five years, has become the second recruit to sign a national letter of intent to play women’s basketball at Wagner College for newly-hired head coach Lisa Cermignano.
Jazmine Hamlet (New York, NY/ Francis Lewis), a 5-7 guard, signed with Wagner on May 7 and will join Wade as a freshman on the 2012-13 Seahawk squad.
The Wagner coaching staff has several ties to the Philadelphia Belles. Cermignano and Seahawk assistant coach Lisa Steele are former members of the Belles who, as an organization, have won more than 5,000 games and over 300 championships in nearly 40 years of local, regional, national and international competition. Since 1978, over 1,500 members of the Belles program have received college scholarships, including Cermignano, a Hall of Fame player at George Washington, and Steele, who was recruited to George Washington by Cermignano and helped lead the Colonials to two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. In addition, Seahawk assistant coach James Clark formerly coached with the Belles.
As senior in 2011-12, Wade, who hails from Penn Valley, PA, averaged 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while leading the Central Girls Basketball League with 41 three-pointers made and in free throw shooting at 78 percent. Wade’s important contributions helped lead the Aces, who were minus their leading scorer for nine games due to injury, to a 15-9 record. Wade was named Second-team All-Central Girls Basketball League as well as Second-Team All-Main Line. As a junior, Wade played an integral role on a Lower Merion team that crafted a 25-6 record, including a perfect 17-0 league mark. Wade began her scholastic career as a post player before converting into a guard.
“Tessa is a hard worker who knows what it take to win,” said Cermignano. “She will bring the intensity and energy necessary to help take Wagner to the next level and has the ability to become a great college player.”
Lower Merion’s most famous alumnus is NBA great Kobe Bryant who graduated in 1996. Often listed among the top public high schools in the country, Lower Merion plays its home games in the 1,300-seat Kobe Bryant Gymnasium, a facility that was unveiled in 2010 and which Bryant helped fund.
“Tessa is more of an off guard but was forced to play the point for us due to injuries and graduation and she did a really nice job. She has great range from deep, just a terrific long-range shooter who can put points up on the board in a hurry,” said Lower Merion head coach Lauren Pellicane, who starred at St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, NY, before embarking on a standout collegiate playing career at Villanova.
“She also is an excellent foul shooter and I think, most importantly, Tessa has an understanding of how to compete for championships and what it takes to be successful at a high level,” Pellicane added. “And playing with the Philadelphia Belles since she was in the seventh grade gave her a great opportunity and made her a better player.”
Wade becomes the fourth member of Wagner’s incoming recruiting class as she joins Hamlet as well as a pair of players signed by the previous coaching staff last November in 6-4 center Emily Adams (Cummings, GA/ Buford) and 5-7 guard Jordyn Peck (Shaker Heights, OH/ Shaker Heights).