BERKELEY – Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb has announced that New Zealand women’s national team member Penina Davidson has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the California Golden Bears in the 2014-15 season.
Davidson, a 6’3 forward from Auckland, New Zealand where she plays for Rangitoto College, joins the California signing class that was ranked in the top 20 in the country after the fall signing period when Bay Area natives Mikayla Cowling (Benecia, Calif.) and Gabby Green (Oakland, Calif.) signed their letters of intent. The incoming group, ranked No. 14 by ESPN, gives California its fifth top 20 recruiting class in the last six years – the lone exception being the 2011-12 season when the Golden Bears did not sign any players.
“We are thrilled to add a person and player of Penina’s caliber in the late signing period," Gottlieb said. "She will be a wonderful addition to our team, and a welcome member of the Cal community. Nina comes from a 'basketball family', and that’s evident in her versatile game and high basketball intellect. She’s big and strong and will provide a solid post presence, but also has an array of skills facing the basket. She had to take a pretty long flight to get here for her visit, but Nina fit in and felt like family from the moment she stepped on campus and met our players! Our exciting recruiting class only gets more dynamic with the addition of Penina Davidson."
Davidson is a member of the New Zealand Women’s National Team where she most recently competed at the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championships, scoring five points and pulling down eight rebounds for the Tall Ferns in the championship series against the Australia senior national team that was coming off a bronze medal finish at the London Olympics while being led by seven-time WNBA All-Star Lauren Jackson. At the youth level, Davidson has competed for the U-16, U-17 and U-19 New Zealand teams. She was named the New Zealand Player of the Tournament at the 2012 FIBA Oceania Women’s Under-19 tournament when she averaged 14.7 points per game for the Junior Tall Ferns.
Davidson also competed for New Zealand at the 2012 Four Nations Challenge in China where she averaged 15 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in nine total contests against China, the United States and Australia. She was named to the final All-Tournament team as one of just two non-Americans given the honor at the international event.
As a prep athlete, Davidson was named the 2012 and 2013 ASB (Auckland Secondary School Association) Young Sportsperson of the Year for basketball. Davidson plays her club basketball for the Waitakere Lady Rangers of the WBC (Women’s Basketball Championship) this year after competing for the Auckland Lady Hawks last year where she averaged 13.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. She led Waitakere to the 2013 national title and was named Tournament MVP after scoring 33 points with 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in the championship game.
Davidson also plays netball for Rangitoto. She helped lead the team to the North Harbour premier title and a berth in the Upper North Island Championships.
“I decided to come to Cal because the location was the closest to home, and the team felt comfortable and welcoming,” Davidson said. “I also felt that the coaching staff were people I wanted to work with on improving my game.”
6’3 – Forward – North Shore, Auckland, New Zealand
California Women's Basketball Signees
*Mikayla Cowling (Benecia, CA / Saint Mary’s College HS) – W
*Gabby Green (Oakland, CA / Saint Mary’s College HS) – G
Penina Davidson (North Shore, Auckland, New Zealand / Rangitoto College) – F
* - Signed in the fall signing period