RICHMOND, Va. – It was June 5, 2012 when Marlene Stollings (pictured) stood behind a podium inside VCU's Sports Medicine Building.
During her introductory press conference that Tuesday afternoon, she explained her vision for VCU Women's Basketball, and admitted that recruiting will be the "lifeblood" of her program.
Stollings' June arrival put her staff slightly behind on the recruiting trail, but that didn't seem to matter however, as just five months later she and her new staff had rapidly assembled a six-player recruiting class, which gained attention as one of the country's best.
Blue Star Basketball, a respected national women's basketball recruiting service, tabbed VCU's 2013 class as the 38th-best in the nation, tops among all Atlantic 10 Conference squads, and third-highest among non-BCS schools.
One of those players – incoming freshman guard/forward Camille Calhoun (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) – is listed as a four-star recruit by ESPN, which also grades her as the 92nd-best overall player in her class and 27th at her position. VCU joins nationally-ranked Dayton as one of just two A-10 schools to boast an ESPN Top 100 recruit.
The highly-touted recruiting class also includes Briana DuBose (5-10, G, Bowie, Md./Bishop McNamara, 1st Team All-WCAC), Monnazjea Finney-Smith (6-1, G, Portsmouth, Va./Wilson, Eastern District Offensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-District), Ashlee Mitchell (5-7, G, Bristol, Tenn./Tennesee, back-to-back Region Player of the Year), Keira Robinson (5-8, G, Columbia, S.C./Keenan, South Carolina 2A Player of the Year) and Isis Thorpe (5-8, G, Reading, Pa./Reading, back-to-back Berks County Player of the Year).
Stollings has long been recognized as an outstanding national recruiter. As an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Ole Miss, she signed arguably the school's best class in nearly 30 years in 2010, while her final two classes with the Rebels ranked as the 39th and 42nd best in the nation.
Under Stollings' guidance last year, VCU qualified for the Atlantic 10 Tournament in its inaugural season in the league, despite returning just 20 percent of its offense (fewest in A-10) and 31 percent of its minutes played (second fewest in A-10) – a sign that the future is bright for the Rams.
April 2, 2013 FORMER VCU STANDOUT MOSS SIGNS WITH WNBA’S CHICAGO SKY
March 15, 2013 Thibault Named Assistant Coach with Washington Mystics
February 23, 2013 Xavier Defeats VCU, 65-54, Behind Strong Second Half
February 20, 2013 VCU's Rally Comes Up Short in 66-62 Loss at Richmond
February 17, 2013 VCU Uses Balanced Attack in Dominating 69-50 Win Over La Salle
February 10, 2013 VCU Rides Strong Second Half to 64-51 Win at St. Bonaventure
February 6, 2013 VCU Comes Up Short Against First-Place Saint Joseph's, 55-50
February 2, 2013 VCU Falls on Road to Red Hot Fordham Squad 71-41
January 23, 2013 VCU Suffers 73-51 Setback Against Duquesne
January 17, 2013 HENDERSON, WILKS SET TO BE HONORED AS ATLANTIC 10 LEGENDS
January 16, 2013 VCU Picks Up First A-10 Win With Hard-Fought, 53-51 Effort at Temple
January 12, 2013 VCU Drops Atlantic 10 Opener at Saint Louis
January 4, 2013 VCU Falls to Youngstown State in Non-Conference Finale
January 1, 2013 VCU Opens New Year with Dominating 82-47 Win Over Maine
December 27, 2012 VCU Falls at No. 24 Ohio State, 88-50
December 20, 2012 VCU Falls to In-State Foe Liberty, 76-63
December 16, 2012 East Carolina Holds Off Late VCU Rally, Hands Rams 67-56 Setback
December 10, 2012 VCU's Pellechio Named A-10 Women's Basketball Rookie of the Week
December 5, 2012 VCU Uses Strong Second Half in 70-41 Win Over UMBC
November 28, 2012 Cleveland State Uses Strong Second Half to Hand VCU 68-57 Setback
November 26, 2012 Parks Named Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week
November 15, 2012 Women's Basketball Inks Six Recruits During Early Signing Period
November 12, 2012 VCU Drops Season Opener at Elon, 74-58
September 18, 2012 Eleven Postseason Squads Highlight 2012-13 VCU Women's Basketball Schedule
August 23, 2012 Rastogi Named Director of Women's Basketball Player Personnel
August 8, 2012 Cody Henry Named Women's Basketball Video Coordinator
July 17, 2012 Former Ram Courtney Hurt Signs Pro Contract in Israel
June 27, 2012 Bedell Named Assistant Women's Basketball Coach at VCU