ELON, N.C. – Elon head women’s basketball coach Charlotte Smith has announced that Lauren Brown (Alpahretta, Ga./Alpharetta), Mackenzie Darrah (Buford, Ga./Buford), Jenifer Rhodes (North Charleston, S.C./Pinewood Prep) and Lenaira Ruffin (Burlington, N.C./River Mill) have all signed national letters of intent to join the Phoenix program.
“We are very excited about our incoming freshman class,” said Smith. “The entire coaching staff has done an outstanding job of recruiting student-athletes that will excel academically, represent Elon University in a first class manner and bring a lot of energy and excitement to the court.”
Brown, a 5-9 combo guard, was a four-year starter for Alpharetta, helping the team to four state playoff appearances, three sweet 16 appearances and the elite eight in 2013. She averaged 15.4 points and 3.7 assists per game as a senior. A team captain, Brown reached the 1,000-career point milestone her senior season. A two-time all-region first team selection, she was named honorable mention all-metro Atlanta, first team all-North Fulton and to the North Georgia all-state team in 2013. Brown earned the team’s best offensive player award and was named the MVP of the region tournament as a senior. In 2012, she earned second team all-North Fulton honors and all-state honorable mention. As a junior, she helped the team to a 24-4 record and first in the region. Lauren, a four-time scholar athlete, is the daughter of Kowalski and Erma Brown.
Darrah, a 6-4 forward, averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game for Buford as a senior, shooting 43 percent from the field. As a junior, she was named to the Gwinett City Team of the Month and helped Buford to a regional championship and state runner-up title in 2012. Darrah led Buford to the Georgia 2A state championship title in 2011 after scoring a game-high 18 points. She is a two-time honorable mention all-region and all-Gwinett County selection. Mackenzie is the daughter of Tommy, a former basketball and tennis player at LaGrange College, and Becky Darrah. Her brother, Thomas, played football and baseball at Jacksonville State, while her sister, Megan, also played collegiate basketball at Georgia.
Rhodes, a 6-0 post player, averaged 10.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in three seasons at Pinewood Prep. She also set the school career records in blocked shots (268) and rebounds (717). Rhodes helped Pinewood to three SCISA 3A state championships (2011-13) and was a two-time all-region selection. She averaged a double-double as a senior with 12.6 ppg and 10 rbg, while being named to the all-state team, all-lowcountry second team and to the SCISA all-star team. In 2012, she was selected as the SCISA Co-AAA Player of the Year and earned all-lowcountry honorable mention. Rhodes was also a SCISA all-state selection as a sophomore. Off the court, she earned a spot on the Headmaster’s List and the Faculty Honor Roll. Jenifer is the daughter of John Rhodes.
Ruffin, a 5-9 guard, averaged 15 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and four steals per game for River Mill. A four-time Carolina Twelve 2A/1A All-Conference player, Ruffin also earned conference player of the year three times. She was named to the NCBCA All-District first team for four seasons, earned a spot on the NC Preps All-State Team in 2012 and 2013 and was honored with the state championship outstanding player award. Ruffin helped River Mill to conference regular-season and tournament championships, as well as the state sectional tournament championship. A three-time Burlington Times-News All-Region selection, Ruffin set school records for career scoring (1,369 points) and rebounds (1,319 boards). Lenaira is the daughter of Leonard and Cynthia Ruffin.
All four players are eligible to play for the Phoenix during the 2013-14 season.