Emma Blakely, TyLee Manuel, and Kate Sams

Emma Blakely, TyLee Manuel, and Kate Sams each signed letters of intent to join the MSU Billings women’s basketball team for the 2019-20 campaign.

BILLINGS — Montana State Billings women's basketball coach Kevin Woodin announced on Monday that TyLee Manuel of Billings West, Emma Blakely of Missoula Hellgate and Kate Sams of Spokane Valley, Washington, had signed letters of intent to join the program for the 2019-20 school year.

Overall, Woodin has signed seven players for next season.

Manuel, who committed to Black Hills State in September, will join her twin sister TyRaa Manuel, whose signing was announced last November. She is the third player from this year's State AA runner-up West team to sign with the Jackets as Shayla Montague is another member of the 2019-20 recruiting class.

TyLee Manuel, a 6-foot-1 forward, was a first-team all-state and all-conference selection her sophomore through senior seasons. She was also a team captain this year for the Bears. 

“I chose MSUB to be able to stay home and play with my twin sister TyRaa and best friend Shayla Montague,” Manuel said in a MSUB press release. “Family is super important to me, and being only a few minutes away will be nice. MSUB is also a great school, and has a really good program.”

“It is great to have TyLee join our basketball program,” Woodin said in the same release. “She has excellent fundamentals, and her offensive rebounding and versatility will make our team better right away. TyLee had a very impressive career at Billings West, and we are excited that she has chosen to stay close to home and attend MSUB. I know she will have a positive impact on our team.”

Blakely, a 5-7 guard, led the Knights to a third-place finish at the state tourney. She was a first-team all state and first-team all conference selection as a senior, averaging 12.6 points, 3.9 boards and 2.9 assists.

“I am incredibly grateful and honored to be given the opportunity to play basketball at MSUB,” Blakely said in the release. “When I visited the campus, Coach Woodin and Coach Breen immediately made me feel welcomed, and I was impressed with how every player is both valued and celebrated. I am elated that I will be able to continue to play basketball at the collegiate level, and I look forward to being a part of the MSUB women’s basketball team.”

Blakely helped her team to a 16-9 record in 2018-19, and was the team’s leading scorer in 12 of 25 games. 

“Emma had a great senior basketball season and her leadership was key to Hellgate getting to its first state tournament in more than 15 years,” said Woodin in the release. “Emma combines a great work ethic with a strong passion for the game. I am pleased she chose MSUB to further her education, and she will provide us with much-needed depth at the wing position.”

Sams is a 5-9 guard. She played for a Central Valley High School team that went 105-6, including a pair of state titles, during her four-year career. 

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