UI women’s basketball, soccer add signees

Vandal recruit Skylar Bea shoots during a game last year.Courtesy of UI athletics

Another Vandal family connection headlined the University of Idaho’s haul on Wednesday’s national signing day.

UI women’s basketball coach Jon Newlee added a legacy to his roster in Skylar Bea, the younger sister of All-Big Sky UI standout sophomore Beyonce Bea.

Skylar Bea filled up the stat sheet last season at Washougal (Wash.) High School, averaging 12 points, 10 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 blocks per game, shooting about 40 percent from the floor.

Standing 5-foot-11 with a long reach, Bea was one of the region’s top inside players as a junior last year. Her coach, Britney Ervin — quoted in the Camas Post Record — praised her play-creation, rebounding and anticipation on defense.

Ervin called Bea “one of the best defensive players I’ve ever coached.”

Bea told the Record that UI would experiment with her at the wing position.

The Bea sisters boosted Washougal to a 2A state championship in 2019.

Newlee also picked up 6-1 wing/forward Makenna Jacklin, who prepped at Okanagan Mission Secondary in Kelowna, British Columbia, and played national travel ball with the notable BC United club.

Jacklin, according to a few ranking sites, is a top-50 women’s basketball prospect in Canada. She excels underneath with rhythmic footwork, but has a touch from mid-range too.

Third-year coach Jeremy Clevenger and his Idaho soccer team welcome six newcomers who’ll aid the Vandals in their quest to return to the Big Sky spotlight.

Two of them hail from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz. — All-State striker Mia Zubiate and defender Rebekah Reyes.

Clevenger called the left-footed Zubiate a creative attacker boasting multiple skillsets.

“She is smart, technical, dangerous on the dribble, precise with her passing and hard-working,” he said. “When Mia has the ball, good things happen.”

Zubiate tallied eight goals and 10 assists last year, and the season before, led the state with 14 goals and 20 assists. She played club ball with Arizona Arsenal of the Elite Clubs National League.

Reyes, who played for Utah Royals FC, is “tall, very fast, smart and strong,” Clevenger said.

“Rebekah is going to be a great player for our defense for many years to come.”

Reyes prides herself on walling off one-on-one challenges, and for being versatile — she can excel at any spot in the backline.

Cassidy Elicker, a centerback, joins Idaho out of Kennedy Catholic in Tukwila, Wash. She was a two-time second-team all-leaguer, and two-year Lancer team captain.

“Cassidy is an all-around great player,” Clevenger said. “There is not much she can’t do on the soccer field. My favorite thing about Cassidy is how smooth she is on the ball. She never panics and always seems to make the right decisions.”

Pacific NW ECNL club coach Viet Nguyen said Elicker “has been one of our most talented players. She is an intelligent player that reads the game so well.”

Hayward, Calif., defender Jaeden Nelson “checks all the boxes physically with great size, speed and strength,” Clevenger said. “She can defend 1v1, is good in the air, can play out of the back, and communicates well.”

Nelson was an all-league honoree at Dublin High School, and played club for the ECNL-contending Pleasanton Rage.

Leiden Huber was a four-year starter at Scripps Ranch High School, playing in the large-school California Interscholastic Federation San Diego Section.

The two-time Falcon team captain led Scripps Ranch to a CIF championship last year. In the offseasons, she trained with the San Diego Soccer Club, leading the team in scoring, assists — and placing second in scoring in the U.S. Youth Soccer National League. Her San Diego team won a USYS championship.

“She is extremely technical and good in tight spaces. I have seen Leiden dribble through three or four defenders with ease,” Clevenger said of Huber, who was also recruited for college lacrosse. “... I think Leiden can produce goals for Idaho in many ways.”

Eagle High School forward Bradie Garven is UI’s lone in-state recruit. She was a second-team all-conference striker who led her team in scoring last year.

“Bradie came to a few of our camps and immediately impressed the coaching staff,” Clevenger said of the Idaho Rush Premier player. “The first thing people are going to notice is her athleticism. She is a very good athlete but also has a high motor.”

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