CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois women’s basketball has signed four new players for next season as national signing day opened last week.   Set to join the Panthers for the 2022-23 season are Lyric Johnson, Ella Lune, Sydney-James Desroches and Emily Meidel.

EIU women’s basketball opened this season last week with a home win over Lindenwood.  The Panthers return to action on Wednesday at Indiana State before hosting Evansville on Saturday evening at First Mid Court at Lantz Arena. 

Lyric Johnson

A 5-9 guard from Hortonville, Wisc. who committed to EIU in December 2020, Johnson is a multi-sport athlete, as she plays basketball and is also a track and field runner at Hortonville high school, having gone to state as a runner last year.  On the basketball side of things, Johnson is a member of the Wisconsin Flight Elite AAU squad and plays her high school basketball under head coach Celeste Ratka, who played under EIU head coach Matt Bollant when he was the head coach at Green Bay.  She averaged 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 2.4 assists per game for the Polar Bears in her junior year.

“Lyric is a big-time athlete and defensively is one of the best in the state of Wisconsin,” said Coach Bollant. “She has been really well coached by a former player of mine, Celeste Ratka, so she is incredibly sound on both ends of the floor.”

Ella Lune

A 6-foot wing from Brimfield, Ill. who also committed to EIU in December 2020, Lune is also a multi-sport athlete, as she plays both basketball and volleyball at Brimfield high school.  A member of the Heart of Illinois AAU team, she averaged 17.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.6 steals, and 2.4 blocks per game in her junior year of high school, leading Brimfield to a perfect 16-0 season and earning all-Prairieland, ICAC first team, IBCA first-team and AP honorable mention all-state honors in the process.

“Ella is very long and can play multiple positions,” said Coach Bollant. “She will fit really well in our positionless game of how we play. She can shoot the three but really knows how to score and has already put up a ton of points going into her senior year. Her dad was a professional hockey player and she has inherited that toughness.”

Sydney-James Desroches

A 6-foot wing/forward from Clarksville, Tenn. who committed to EIU on October 25, Desroches is a member of Team Brandonwright in AAU.  She averaged 11.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.0 steals per game in her junior year at Rosview High School and was twice named Clarkesville player of the week.

“Sydney is a long guard that can play multiple positions both offensively and defensively,” said Coach Bollant. “She reminds me of Kevin Durant the way she can really shoot it but knows how to use her length and finish around the rim.” She loves to compete and make things happen on the defensive end.”

Emily Meidel

A 5-11 wing/forward from Danville, Ill., Meidel is coming to EIU by way of Lincoln Land Community College.  In her first year with the Loggers in 2020-21, she averaged 22.2 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game, leading the Mid-West Athletic Conference in both categories.  Her outstanding freshman season at Lincoln Land earned her multiple honors, including NJCAA Division II first-team All-American, MWAC freshman of the year, MWAC player of the year, and Region 24 player of the year.

“Emily is a lights out shooter who loves to compete,” said Coach Bollant. “Shooting 46% from 3 last year, she was runner up player of the year nationally for her junior college division. She rebounds well and does a lot of little things on the court very well.”

The future is bright for the EIU program as this talented group of incoming freshmen figure to mesh well with the current group of Panther freshmen, who have already shown many signs of their great potential in limited action this season.  The Panthers will play their first road match of the season at Indiana State on Wednesday, November 17 before returning home to take on Evansville on Saturday, November 20.


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