Women's basketball coach Kenny Parham welcomes stellar incoming class

The incoming women's basketball class includes (l to r) Maia Hood, Corinn Baggs and Jill Spagnuola. (Wagner photo courtesy of Dave Saffran Photography.)
The incoming women's basketball class includes (l to r) Maia Hood, Corinn Baggs and Jill Spagnuola. (Wagner photo courtesy of Dave Saffran Photography.)

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — Coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance in his first season as NYIT's women's basketball coach, Kenny Parham welcomes an exciting recruiting class for the 2017-18 season. The incoming student-athletes include two players with Division I college experience, Maia Hood and Corinn Baggs, as well as prep players Shalie Frierson, Jill Spagnuola and Taylor Tripptree.

"This recruiting class gives us a lot of depth at many positions and will give us an opportunity to play different styles with certain lineups on the floor," Parham said. "We have added high-character student-athletes who have a strong work ethic and are solid athletes, with quickness and speed."

Hood, a 5-foot-10 guard/forward, comes to NYIT as a graduate student after serving as a key contributor at Lafayette in 2015-16 and 2016-17. After dealing with knee injuries earlier in her collegiate career that led to a redshirt season, Hood ranked second on the Leopards in points per game (9.6) and had the fourth-highest free-throw percentage in the Patriot League (80.4) as a junior. She then started 11 games as a senior and averaged 5.6 ppg. Hood previously was a five-year varsity player at Alexander Hamilton High School in Elmsford, N.Y. She scored 1,619 points and had 998 rebounds during her prep career.

"Maia is an experienced player who displays great effort and who has the ability to play every position on the floor," Parham said. "She has strong leadership qualities and a high basketball IQ to go with a very good skill set."

Baggs, a 5-9 guard/forward, joins the Bears as a transfer after one season at Wagner. The rising sophomore guard averaged 6.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while starting 22 games during the 2016-17 season. As a high school standout at Staten Island Academy, Baggs tallied 1,406 career points and was a two-time Jaques Award winner, which is given to the top high school player in Staten Island. Baggs' sister Taylor won that same award in 2011 while at Moore Catholic. They became the second siblings to each receive the honor.

"Corinn is a very good defender who can score a lot of different ways," Parham said. "She understands the game, makes good basketball decisions and is a very good teammate."

A 5-7 guard, Frierson played for Troy High School in upstate New York, averaging 15.5 ppg as a senior while shining in all-star tournaments such as the USJN Nike 17U National Championship, the Capital City Classic and the GymRat Challenge.

"Shalie is a good defender who has the speed and quickness to separate from defenders as well as to guard opponents," Parham said. "Her ability to get to the basket and her shooting ability make her a balanced offensive player."

Spagnuola, a 5-5 guard, is a Commack High School product, where she was named Suffolk County Player of the Year as a senior. Spagnuola was named to the All-Long Island second team both her junior and senior years. She averaged 16.5 ppg her senior season after being named a top-50 player by Newsday heading into the season.

"Jill is a fierce competitor who makes her teammates better," Parham said. "Her quickness and scoring ability keeps opponents off-balance.​"

Another Long Islander, Tripptree attended Ward Melville High School. She averaged 14.1 ppg and 11.3 rpg in 2016-17. Like Spagnuola, she was named to the All-Long Island second team her junior and senior seasons. Tripptree, a 5-8 guard, led Ward Melville to its first girls' basketball league title since 1988.

"Taylor is a good defender who competes every play," Parham said. "She plays multiple positions on offense and can score a lot of different ways."