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Sunday, June 22, 2014
Braintree's Ashley Russell commits to Penn

By Brendan C. Hall

Braintree High rising senior point guard Ashley Russell, the state's reigning Gatorade Player of the Year and ESPN Boston Miss Basketball, has verbally committed to the University of Pennsylvania, she announced just a few moments ago on her Twitter account.

Very excited to announce my official commitment to UPenn to play basketball!

— Ashley Russell (@AshleyRussell__) June 22, 2014


The 5-foot-10 Russell spearheaded a Wamps squad that was among the state’s stingiest, as they captured their third straight South sectional title and their first MIAA Division 1 State Championship since 2006. The Wamps went wire to wire as the No. 1 team in ESPNBoston.com’s statewide poll in 2013-14, leading the state’s top division in points allowed per game (34.8) and going unbeaten against in-state competition, their lone loss coming to national power Christ The King (N.Y.).

On the season, Russell led the Wamps in nearly every major statistical category, averaging 13 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals. One of her more impressive performances came in a win over Lynn English in the Eastern Mass. Final at TD Garden, where she achieved a rare point-less double-double, recording 13 rebounds and 11 assists in spite of a 1-for-10 effort from the field.

"I am just so excited to play at UPenn and become part of such a successful program," Russell said. "Their coaching staff is just one of the best, and I can't wait to play for them."

Fairfield, Hofstra, Colgate, UMass-Lowell, Bentley and Stonehill were among the other schools offering Russell at the time of her commitment.

Russell is the first of Braintree's heralded "Big Four" of Division 1 recruits to make their college decision. Rising senior forwards Molly Reagan and Bridget Herlihy, and junior guard/forward Brianna Herlihy, all hold multiple Division 1 offers.