The Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team has closed the book on its 2013 recruiting class with the signing of Jess Samorodova, a 6-foot-3 forward from Western Nebraska Community College.
Samorodova, who is originally from Moscow, Russia but lived in Chicago from the age of 15, is the fifth and final recruit signed by the Warriors and coach Brian Orr, joining Natahnee Spencer (Lapwai, Idaho), Megan Risinger (Tigard, Ore.), Caelyn Orlandi (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) and Brooke Litalien (Post Falls, Idaho).
Samorodova will have three remaining years of eligibility at LCSC, and will start her Warrior career as a sophomore. She played in 13 games at Western Nebraska in 2012-13, averaging 16.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Samorodova shot 53 percent from the field and scored in double-digits in 12 of her 13 contest. She tallied three double-doubles, including a 31-point, 10-rebound performance against the Las Vegas Heat.
“Her averages at Western Nebraska are impressive, but I like that she shot such a high percentage from the field, from the 3-point line and from the free-throw line,” Orr said. “It makes her hard to guard and I think she’ll be as tough a matchup as anyone in our league.”
Samorodova also has international experience, playing for the Russian national team at the FIBA Europe U20 European Championships in 2011.
She also attended a WNBA scouting combine in New Orleans last month.
“Her playing experience is vast. I think she’s our most experienced player,” Orr said of Samorodova. “She’s got so much game. She can shoot from the perimeter, has great ball-handling skills for a 6-foot-3 player, she can play with her back to the basket and has a wide array of moves on the inside.”
Samorodova said she fell in love with the LCSC campus and Coach Orr on her recruiting visit a few weeks back.
“Coach Orr and I had a nice conversation. I spoke with some (NCAA) D1 schools but after I spoke with Coach Orr I knew I wanted to come here. The first thing I told him was I wanted to help him win a championship,” Samorodova said. “When I came here on my visit I fell in love with the school and the gym and the people here. I feel like I’m in paradise.”
LCSC’s newest women’s basketball player said that while she knows a lot is expected of her and the rest of her fellow recruits, she will fight to earn her minutes on the team.
“I want to earn my minutes and I know how hard it is going to be to earn a spot. I want to start, but I’ll live in the gym to earn that spot,” she said.
Samorodova will slide into the roster spot vacated by the departure of post Ornela Bacchini.
“With Jess’ addition I think this is one of the best – if not the best – recruiting classes we’ve ever had,” Orr said.
Samorodova is the daughter of Irina Samorodova and plans to major in Political Science at Lewis-Clark State. She came to the United States from Russia at age 15 with a coach and settled in Chicago.
“I didn’t know any English,” she said. “I learned from watching TV and movies and from talking to my friends.”
Western Nebraska’s assistant coach is from Turkey and had played against Samorodova in Europe, and helped get her to the Cougar program.
“We were in the right spot at the right time to get her,” Orr said. “We’re really lucky to get her because she’s a real special player.”