Manhattan Completes 2017-18 Roster
RIVERDALE, NY – Head Coach Heather Vulin has announced the addition of three players to the Manhattan College women's basketball roster for the 2017-18 season. Sini Mäkelä (Helsinki, Finland) and Lizahya Morgan (East Hartford, CT) join the Jaspers as freshmen, while Tuuli Menna (Helsinki, Finland) comes to Manhattan after two years at the University of Richmond.
Mäkelä, a 5-foot-8 guard, was a member of the Finnish Under-16 and Under-18 National Teams from 2013-15. She was the captain of her club team, Helmi Basket, which won a pair of Finnish under-18 championships, as well as a first-division title in 2016. Mäkelä was named Shooter of the Year in 2016, when she shot 43.2 percent from three-point range.
“Sini is an outstanding shooter with deep range and a quick release,” Vulin said. “In our up-tempo offense, we feel she will get tremendous shots and really stretch the defense. Sini is someone we targeted early, and we're very excited to have her join us. She has the #playGREEN mentality in everything she does.”
Morgan is a 5-foot-2 point guard who won three state championships at Capital Preparatory Magnet School. She led the State of Connecticut with 6.7 assists per game in 2015-16, then earned First Team All-State honors as a senior after averaging 13.3 points per contest. Morgan was a high school teammate of senior guard Taylor Williams.
“Lizahya is a dynamic combo guard who plays with a toughness that left an impact on me the first time I saw her play,” Vulin said. “I love her intangibles and her refusal to lose. She can push the tempo, but is also a proven scorer who is a tough matchup for the other team.”
Menna has made 72 international appearances for the Finnish National Team at the Under-16, Under-18 and senior levels. She was Finland's top scorer and rebounder in 2012-13, when she averaged 14.0 points and 7.9 boards per game. Menna earned Finnish Basketball Federation U16 Player of the Year honors in 2011 and was the MVP of the 2012 Nordic U16 Championships. In addition, she was named an all-star at both the 2012 Nordic U16 Championships and 2014 Nordic U18 Championships to go along with an All-Tournament Team selection at the 2012 European Championships.
The 6-foot-1 forward played in 37 games, including 17 starts, during her two seasons at Richmond, and she pulled down eight rebounds against Virginia on Nov. 16, 2016. Menna will sit out the 2017-18 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules and will have two years of eligibility remaining in 2018-19.
“We are very excited to have someone as talented as Tuuli join our program,” Vulin said. “She's an outstanding student, and she fits our style of play perfectly. She'll be able to create multiple mismatches similar to Kayla Grimme. We're excited that she's decided to end her collegiate career with us.”They join a roster that includes fellow newcomers Nyala Pendergrass (Jackson, NJ), Lynette Taitt (Irvington, NJ) and Courtney Warley (West Chester, PA), all of whom committed to Manhattan during the NCAA Early Signing Period in November. The Jaspers will also return nine letterwinners, including all five starters, from the 2016-17 squad.