WBK: UCSB women’s basketball adds two transfers

UCSB’s women’s basketball program has announced a pair of additions in Oregon transfer Drea Toler and JC transfer Je Zhe Newton.

Adding to UCSB’s frontcourt, 6-3 center Newton will be joining the Gauchos for the start of the 2015-16 season. Toler, a 5-5 guard, will redshirt the 2015-16 season and will make her Gaucho debut in the fall of 2016.

Newton comes from Central Arizona College where she played for the past two years.

“Je Zhe will bring an immediate post presence to our program,” Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “Size and length were a priority this spring and we are excited to add Je Zhe to our Gaucho family! The great coaching she had under Denise Cardenas at Central Arizona will help her in the transition.”

A consistent starter during her sophomore campaign, Newton paced the Vaqueros with 8.6 rebounds per game and also averaged 8.9 points per game on the offensive end. During that year, she had a five-game stretch of double-double performances with arguably her best effort coming against South Plains College (12/31/14) when she finished with a season-high 18 points and 11 boards.

In her freshman season, the Vaqueros finished the season as the fifth ranked team in the nation with a 28-2 record. The team went deep into the NJCAA Tournament, as it competed in the third-place game.

A Phoenix native, Newton initially committed to Georgia Tech coming out of Chandler High School. She was an easy sell to the Yellow Jackets, as she was listed as a four-star prospect and was the ninth-ranked post player in the nation by ESPN HoopGurlz.

She scored more than 1,000 points and grabbed over 700 rebounds in her three years of prep basketball. One of her best games was a triple-double performance when she finished with 39 points, 37 rebounds, 12 blocks and also added five steals against Xavier High School.

In addition to being a three-time captain for Chandler HS, she was also named Honorable Mention Arizona All-5A by the Arizona Republic following the 2010-11 season.

Toler has two years of eligibility remaining.

“Drea brings tremendous playmaking ability to our program,” Henrickson said. “Her speed and quickness will be invaluable in our style of play.”

The Los Angeles native played 29 games last season and started in 12 of the Ducks’ final 13 games, including the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament. She averaged 4.4 points and averaged 2.9 assists per game that year while shooting 39.7 percent from the floor. Her best game came against Washington State (1/18/15) when she recorded career-highs of 16 points and eight rebounds along with seven dimes and four swipes. After that performance, she took on a starting role and averaged 6.1 points, 4.1 assists, and 1.2 steals the rest of the way.

She had her breakout game as a freshman when she scored 12 points in 15 minutes at USC (1/19/14), as she went 4-6 from the field and 4-4 at the foul line.

Toler had an illustrious high school career under coach McKinsey Hadley that ended with her team winning the CIF Div. IV Championship. In the title game, she netted 20 points in Juniperro Serra High School’s victory of Salesian.

In addition to averaging 14 points, 3.7 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game, she also nabbed 5.3 steals (179) per contest during her senior season. With her 126 assists, Toler held a 2.2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

At the club level, Toler played with the Cal Sparks AAU team under the tutelage of coach Elbert Kinnebrew.

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