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May 14—A 6-foot Division I player who once scored 56 points in a high school game will join the UAA women’s basketball team next season.

Miyah Lewis-Hampton will have three years of eligibility with the Seawolves even though she spent the last three seasons at San Jose State. She was a redshirt in 2018-19 and a reserve player in each of the last two seasons, but the NCAA granted all athletes who played this season an extra year because of the pandemic.

UAA coach Ryan McCarthy thinks Lewis-Hampton will make a big impact. That’s why he recruited her twice.

McCarthy pursued Lewis-Hampton a few years ago when she was at San Francisco’s Leadership High School, where she averaged 27.3 points as a senior. She also played on a club team that included past and present UAA players Yazmeen Goo and Sala Langi, “so we were confident in her ability,” McCarthy said.

The Seawolves renewed their interest this year.

“She has some other options out there,” McCarthy said. “But I think our relationship with her and her club coach gave her confidence this could be a good fit.

“I also think she saw players she grew up with enjoying their experience at UAA and wanted to share that feeling.”

In the 2019-20 season at San Jose State, Lewis-Hampton appeared in 12 games and averaged 0.8 points, 1.0 rebounds and 2.8 minutes. She saw action in one game in the 2020-21 season before the school canceled the season after four games because of COVID-19.

McCarthy, who is 224-36 in nine years, has so far added three players for next season — Lewis-Hampton and guards Sunny Pedebone of Anchorage Christian and Taysia ‘Tubby’ Tovia of Las Vegas — and said he expects to sign one more player.

Recruiting during the pandemic has been difficult, McCarthy said, but he’s hoping his final recruit will be able to visit UAA before she makes her decision. If she does, she won’t get to see the Alaska Airlines Center, because it’s still in use as a COVID-19 vaccine site.

“We have some ladies on our team who haven’t even seen our locker room yet,” he said.

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