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ND Women’s Basketball: Chicago guard signs with Irish

Bill Brink | Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kaila Turner, a 5-foot-8 point guard from Joliet, Ill., signed a letter of intent to play for Notre Dame, Irish coach Muffet McGraw said in a press conference.

Turner signed at the start of the early signing period, which began Wednesday. She gives Notre Dame depth at the point guard position, something it currently lacks, McGraw said.

“We need another point guard,” she said. “Right now we’re working with one point guard in Melissa Lechlitner. Kaila has an opportunity to learn from one of the best point guards in the Big East under Melissa.”

McGraw said Turner’s game is complete and that she does many things well.

“She’s a guard who can shoot the three, who can handle the ball. She’s a good passer, she’s a good defender, she really has a complete game,” McGraw said. “I think she’s very versatile and can do a lot of things.”

Turner’s skill may allow her to play with Lechlitner in some scenarios, McGraw said.

Turner has started for three years at Marian Catholic High School in Joliet while averaging 10 points and 3.2 assists per game. She shoots 34.3 percent from 3-point range. Last season, her team was 23-6 and made it to the Illinois Class 4A sectional final.

“We really like to draw from Chicago,” McGraw said. “That’s a great area for Notre Dame in general with [forward] Devereaux [Peters] and [guard] Lindsay [Schrader] being from Chicago.”

In fact, in Turner’s sophomore year, her team lost in the state semifinals to a Fenwick team that included Peters. Fenwick went on to win the title, and McGraw said Turner remembered the game.

“Devereaux set some screens on her,” McGraw said. “They were talking about that when she came down for a visit. It was a memorable screen, she said.”

The proximity of campus to Chicago helps keep players’ parents involved, McGraw said.

“Kids want to play close to home,” she said. “Its important for them to have their parents come to the games. And it’s just a great fit academically and all the way around.”

Blue Star Basketball ranked Turner as the No. 82 prospect in the country, and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association named her second-team all-state last season.

McGraw said she was impressed with Turner’s multiple gifts.

“She is going to help us press, she’s going to help us run, she really can do a lot of things,” McGraw said. “We’re really excited.”

As a freshman, Turner shot 44 percent from 3-point range and helped her team reach the state quarterfinals. Her team finished 23-10 that season. The Times of Northwest Indiana last season named her Player of the Year as well as a two-time first team all-area player. She was also an all-East Suburban Catholic Conference selection in each of the last two seasons.