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Batesville native among trio of A-State basketball transfers


Higginbottom heading back to home state for 2022-23 basketball season JONESBORO — Arkansas State formally added three Division I transfers to its women’s basketball team Tuesday as head coach Destinee Rogers announced Izzy Higginbottom, Bre Beck and Melodie Kapinga have signed with the Red Wolves.

A former Batesville High School star, Higginbottom joins the Red Wolves after spending her freshman season at Missouri, where she averaged six points off the bench and shot 36.8 percent from the 3-point line.

Higginbottom, a 5-foot-7 guard, played in 27 of 31 games off the bench for the Tigers, who finished the season 18-13 after an 83-78 overtime loss to Drake in the first round of the Women’s NIT. She scored 14 points in the season finale, one of four games where she scored in double figures, while playing a season-high 31 minutes.

In November, Higginbottom was named SEC Freshman of the Week after scoring 17 points and a season-high 18 points against Saint Louis and Idaho State, respectively.

She scored 15 points in the regular-season finale to help the Tigers upset No.

21 Florida 78-73 in Gainesville, Fla.

Higginbottom set a state tournament scoring record in her next-to-last game at Batesville, putting up 57 points against Little Rock Parkview to break a record that had stood since 1984.

A three-time first-team selection to the Arkansas Sports Media Super Team, she scored nearly 2,900 career points at Batesville.

“Izzy Higginbottom is a high-level point guard with great court vision, a high motor and can score in an array of ways,” Rogers said in ASU’s announcement.

“Her experience and IQ will give us what we need as a floor general. I am so excited that she chose to come home.”

Beck, a 5-8 guard, is transferring to ASU from Florida Atlantic, where she played in 38 games for the Owls. She began her collegiate career at Kansas City (2018-19) before playing the 2019-20 season at Wabash Valley College alongside current ASU guard Keya Patton.

At Wabash Valley, Beck averaged 11.3 points per game and shot 47.9 percent from the field, along with 5.8 assists, 3.3 rebound and 2.5 steals per contest. She registered seven or more assists in eight games for the Warriors and was named All-Green Rivers Athletic Conference.

“Bre Beck is a versatile athletic guard who can play multiple positions and guard multiple positions,” Rogers said. “Bre has a lot of experience and brings leadership to our squad that we need.”

Kapinga, a 6-3 center, is transferring to ASU from UC Irvine, where she spent three seasons. She averaged 5.5 minutes per game in 17 appearances, and scored a career-best 12 points on Dec. 9 versus Westmont.

The Arlington, Texas, native was a prep standout at MacArthur Irving High School, where she was a two-time all-district pick.

Kapinga averaged a double- double as a senior, registering 10.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per outing.

“Melodie Kapinga is a skilled and strong post player with great size and athleticism,” Rogers said.

“She will give us a solid inside presence, both offensively and defensively.”

ASU signed two players during the early period, junior college transfers Jordan Clark of Jones College (Miss.) and Tieriney Echols of State Fair Community College (Mo.).

Clark helped her team reach the NJCAA national semifinals. She started all 33 games for Jones, which finished 25-8, and averaged 7.1 points per game.

Echols averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds for State Fair Community College (Mo.) this past season.

ASU’s roster lists seven returnees from last season, including Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year Lauryn Pendleton. With five signees added, the Red Wolves would still have three scholarships to fill.

Photo courtesy of the A-Statte Red Wolves

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