JACKSONVILLE, Alabama — Jacksonville State Gamecock women's basketball picked up a versatile guard on Monday morning when head coach Rick Pietri announced the addition of Alabama State transfer Samiya Steele. Steele, an incoming sophomore that will join the program for the 2023-24 campaign, comes to Jacksonville State after a fruitful freshman season in Montgomery.
"Samiya was a quality player in high school at Hazel Green and had a high level of success playing for coach Tim Miller at one of the best programs in the state," Pietri said. "She went on and had a nice year at Alabama State this past year.
"She's someone who can play the point guard and wing and is an extremely smart, tough, and competitive player," Pietri added. "Samiya was a starter in Division I for a good ASU team, so we feel that we've added a very productive player to our roster. We look forward to having her on the team complimenting the pieces we already have."
Steele, a native of Meridianville, Ala., was a high school star for the Lady Trojans. She was twice named the Class 6A Player of the Year before taking home Miss Alabama and Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year honors as a senior. The 5-foot-8 guard started for three seasons at Hazel Green, leading the perennial power to a 97-3 record over that time. Steele was a member of four state championship teams there before signing with Alabama State.
In her lone year as a Lady Hornet, Steele played in 29 games and logged 27 starts. She averaged 4.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game and shot 38.1% from the field and 31.3% from deep. The future Gamecock scored a season-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting at Auburn on Nov. 20. Steele also produced a 13-point, five-assist outing at Texas Tech on Dec. 1 and added nine points and seven rebounds in a loss at Mississippi State in mid-November. She played 36 minutes in Jacksonville State's non-conference pairing against ASU on Dec. 14, grabbing six boards against a tall Gamecock squad.
Jax State's newest guard helped ASU to a 16-15 campaign last year, notching the Lady Hornets just their second 16-win season in seven years. Furthermore, Alabama State won 12 league matchups before advancing to the SWAC Semifinals with Steele on the roster.
Samiya Steele joins a strong 2023 recruiting class for Jacksonville State women's basketball. She is the second Division I transfer to come aboard alongside Georgia Southern guard Rachel Johnson. Junior college standouts Asia Barclay, Mya Barnes, and Jaz Spencer have also signed with the Gamecocks and will be part of the program this Fall.
Following two successful seasons in the ASUN Conference, Jacksonville State is set to transition to Conference USA in 2023-24. The Gamecocks will take part in a competitive conference against the likes of Florida International, Liberty, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State, Sam Houston State, UTEP, and Western Kentucky.