University of Maine women’s basketball coach Amy Vachon likes having versatile players and that is what she has landed in her five-player recruiting class.
All have signed National Letters of Intent to attend UMaine starting in 2021.
Paula Gallego, a 6-foot-1 guard, continues the string of Spanish players to venture to Orono. She will be joined by 5-11 guard Sera Hodgson of Rindge, New Hampshire, 5-11 forward Penelope Mathieu-Castillo of Montreal, 5-11 forward Adrianna Smith of Reston, Virginia and 5-8 guard Bailey Wilborn of Wichita, Kansas.
Vachon said she is really excited about the class, which includes players who feature different strengths.
“We like to have players who can shoot [outside] and can also play inside,” Vachon said.
“Our offense is really built around that.”
Gallego was ranked among the top five scorers in the Spanish second division before moving up to the top division. She can play in the post and handle the ball.
UMaine has had several Spanish players among numerous Europeans. That includes current players Blanca Millan and Alba Orois along with Fanny Wadling from Sweden, Anne Simon [Luxembourg], Anna Kahelin [Finland] and Caroline Bornemann [Denmark].
“Europe has been real good to us for a long time, almost a decade now. It has been great,” Vachon said.
Hodgson, a two-year captain at New Hampton Prep, is a multipurpose guard who can play a lot of positions and fits in perfectly at UMaine.
Mathieu-Castillo averaged 11.2 points and 7.2 rebounds at Vanier College and led the team in double-doubles during 2018-2019.
“[Mathieu-Castillo is] a hardworking post player who plays bigger than her size and can step outside and hit a 3-pointer,” Vachon said.
Smith was a first-team, all-state player at Bishop O’Connell High School after averaging 12 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals last season.
“[Smith has] benefited from playing for great coaches in high school and AAU [Fairfax Stars] and, as a result, is fundamentally very strong with the ability to shoot the 3-pointer and play underneath with great physicality.”
Wilborn was an All-State Class 5A player in Kansas and was first-team all-county and all-league. She averaged 14.7 points, 2.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
“Bailey is an amazing shooter. She is a scorer and has a beautiful shot. Being able to play a variety of positions will be beneficial,” Vachon said.
UMaine has five seniors this season, including fifth-year players Wadling and Millan, who were medical redshirts a year ago, along with Maeve Carroll, Dor Saar and Kelly Fogarty.
All five could return next season because winter sports athletes will not lose a year of eligibility this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s still a lot up in the air about next year,” Vachon said.