UMW News BureauWomen's basketball coach Cara Cocciarella added three Montana student-athletes to her first recruiting class By Wally Feldt Three student-athletes signed a Frontier Conference/NAIA letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Montana Western, according to women’s head coach Cara Cocchiarella. Auna Lawler is a 5-foot 6-inch guard from Eureka, Mont. where she averaged eight points per game (ppg) and earned first team all-conference honors. “Auna is excited about being part of our program and brings a willingness to work hard on and off the court,” Cocchiarella said. “Auna will also contribute to our tradition of academic excellence.” In addition to basketball, Lawler also competed in volleyball and earned all-conference honors. A 2009 graduate of Lincoln County High School, she maintained a 3.46 GPA. Lawler is the daughter of Steve and Tammy Lawler. Rheanna Padden is a 5-8 guard from Thompson Falls, Mont. She averaged 13.1 ppg and 7.8 rebounds per game there and earned all-conference and all-state honors. “Rheanna’s athletic abilities made her a leader in three different varsity sports,” Cocchiarella said. “Now that Rheanna is going to focus strictly on basketball, we feel that she has tremendous potential to contribute to our program. She is an excellent student who fits well with the other players. ” Padden also participated in volleyball and track. From the classroom, she maintained a 4.0 GPA and was selected valedictorian of her graduating class. Padden received academic all-state honors and was selected to the National Honor Society. She is the daughter of Doug and Karla Padden and is a 2009 graduate of Thompson Falls High School. Jessica Paske is a 5-6 point guard from Drummond, Mont. where she averaged 12.8 ppg, six rebounds, three assists and four steals per game. Paske was a three-time all-conference and all-state selection. “Jessica is a talented athlete and an aggressive basketball player from a program that is successful year in and year out,” Cocchiarella said. “Jessica is another of our recruits that was very successful academically in high school.” Paske also received all-conference honors in volleyball and all-state honors in cross country. She is the daughter of Gordy and Terry Paske.
The University of Montana Western has launched a national search for the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs position.