Women’s Basketball Signs Zena Lovette

Lady Camel Basketball (photo by Will Bratton)
Lady Camel Basketball (photo by Will Bratton)

BUIES CREEK, N.C.-Zena Lovette, a High Point, N.C. native, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play women's basketball at Campbell University, Lady Camel head coach Wanda Watkins announced today.

"Zena is a wonderful addition to our program at Campbell," said Watkins. "She does so many things well. She is a passer, penetrator, scorer, a good defender, is scrappy and hustles so much. I love most of all the heart with which she plays the game and the love she has for the game."

Lovette, a 5-foot-7 guard, led Southwest Guilford to a North Carolina 4A State Championship as a junior and has guided the Cowgirls to 89 total wins in four seasons, including 55 over the past two years. SW Guilford posted a 42-4 record in conference play with Lovette on the floor, going a combined 24-0 in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Named NC All-State by the Associated Press and NCPreps.com as both a junior and senior, Lovette added Third Team North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association honors during the 2011-12 season.

"She has developed more and more each year under Coach Jessica Bryan, who does a tremendous job teaching the game, at Southwest Guilford," said Watkins. "Both Zena and Jessica Pone excelled not only in high school, but with the Phoenix AAU organization over the years."

As a senior last season, Lovette was named PTC 4A Conference Player of the Year, SW MVP, District Player of the Year and News & Record Player of the Year in addition to collecting State Regional and Sheetz Holiday Classic all-tournament honors. Averaging 16.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.1 steals while shooting 51.4 percent from the floor, Lovette led the Cowgirls to their third-straight conference title and a sectional runner-up finish.

The guard was also named to the North Carolina East/West All-Star Game, which will be held on July 16 inside the Greensboro Coliseum.

Lovette averaged nearly 20 points per game (19.5) as a junior, adding 6.5 rebounds, 5.0 steals and 3.0 assists in route to the 2011 NC 4A State Championship. SW Guilford went 30-2 overall with a 12-0 league record, also capturing regional, sectional and conference titles along the way.

The High Point, N.C. product earned conference player of the year honors, adding State Regional MVP, State Championship Most Outstanding Player, News & Record First Team, Bank of NC Holiday Christmas Classic all-tournament and team MVP accolades.

She was also an all-conference and team MVP selection after her first two seasons, adding Second Team Guilford County State Sectional All-Tournament, First Team News & Record All-Guilford and Bank of NC All-Tournament awards as a sophomore. Lovette recorded News & Record Honorable Mention All-Area, High Point Enterprise Second Team and Honorable Mention Northwest Team honors in 2008-09 as a freshman.

Lovette averaged 17.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game for her prep career, totaling 1,703 combined points.

"We are excited about her future here in Buies Creek and anxiously awaiting her arrival," added Watkins.

Lovette joins early signees Jessica Pone (High Point, N.C. / Southwest Guilford HS) and Jewell Yarborough (Creedmoor, N.C. / South Granville HS) in the 2012 class.

Pone, a teammate of Lovette at SW Guilford, was named PTC 4A All-Conference, News & Record All-Area Second Team, All-District Second Team, SW Best All-Around and Sheetz Classic MVP as a senior.

The 5-foot-9 guard also garnered multiple honors as a junior, earning all-state, all-conference, team most improved player and 4A State Championship game MVP awards.

Yarborough averaged 10.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game during her senior campaign after earning all-conference honors last season at South Granville High. The Creedmoor, N.C. native was her team's leading scorer at 12.7 points per game, picking up the spiritual leadership award.

The Lady Camels finished 18-12 overall and 11-7 in Big South play in 2011-12, taking wins in six of their last seven regular season outings.

Campbell's 18 wins are the program's most overall victories since 2000-01 when the team posted 22. The winning season marked the 20th overall for head coach Wanda Watkins, and the 28th overall for the program dating back to 1972-73.

This season, Campbell rejoined the Big South Conference after a 17 year stay in the Atlantic Sun. Campbell, a founding member of the Big South, was 80-26 in eight seasons (1986-94) in its previous stay, making six consecutive conference tournament finals appearances from 1987-92. Campbell won the 1989 title game, and earned the 1990-91 regular season championship with a perfect 12-0 record in league play.

The Lady Camels notched school records for blocks in a single season with 126, and three-pointers in a single game with 13 in a win over UNC Asheville at home.