Tech women announce signings

Montana Tech women’s basketball coach Kerie DePell announced the signing of three basketball players today. A pair of local products, Hattie Thatcher of Butte High and Danee Leary of Butte Central, will join Lexi Turkenburg of Coeur D’Alene as the newest members of the Montana Tech women’s basketball team.

The signings of Thatcher and Leary were previously reported on but not officially announced.

“I am extremely excited to add this group of freshmen to our program. I believe we have signed three great players that are also excellent students and people,” DePell said.

Thatcher, a 5-foot-5 all-around athlete, has found success in softball and volleyball in addition to basketball. As a freshman and junior, she was named first team all-state in softball as an outfielder; she earned first team all-conference as a sophomore when the Bulldogs won the state title.

“Hattie is a natural point guard that will add an aspect that we need in our program, a player that can break people down and create shots for her teammates,” DePell said. “She not only can read the defense and pass well, but is also capable of scoring and being an outside threat. Her personality is that of a floor general, willing to do and say whatever it takes for her team to win.”

On the basketball court, Thatcher was an all-conference honorable mention as a sophomore and second team all-conference last year. The point guard averages 8.2 points, 2.7 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game.

“I chose Tech because I like the thought of being able to stay in Butte for at least four more years,” Thatcher said. “When I was younger, I always loved going to watch basketball games at Tech and when I got the opportunity to play for Montana Tech, I didn’t think there was any better decision than to play.”

Also a standout in the classroom and the community, Thatcher has been named academic All-State eight times. She is a member of the National Honors Society, Science National Honors Society and participates with Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

The daughter of Bill “Chunky” Thatcher and Leah Francisco, Hattie carries a 3.9 GPA at Butte High. She has yet to decide on a major, but would like to focus on a medical degree.

Butte Central’s Danee Leary will continue her basketball career close to home. Leary played volleyball and basketball for the Maroons and was part of the state championship team in 2011. Last year she was second team All-Conference. In volleyball, she earned first team All-Conference and All-State.

“Danee is a versatile player who is very good on defense, is a great athlete, and can score in a lot of ways,” DePell said. “One of the best things about her is her competitiveness. She is fiery and hates to lose, which every coach loves to have in players on their team.”

Leary was named academic All-State five different times and has a 4.0 GPA. She is also a member of the National Honor Society.

The daughter of Billy Jovanovich and Dan and Carrie Leary, she plans on majoring in business or chemistry.

Lexi Turkenburg may be from Coeur d’Alene, but she also has ties to the Mining City and Tech.

“My mom’s family is from Montana, my grandpa graduated from Tech as well as my uncle,” Turkenburg said.

Turkenburg played prep for Coeur d’Alene Charter School lettering twice in volleyball and four times in basketball. She was captain of her basketball team all four years averaging 14.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and three assists per game during her career. As a senior, she averaged 20 points per game.  She earned All-League honors and was the MVP of the Central Idaho League. She was nominated for Idaho’s Top Player of the Year last year.

“Lexi is an intelligent basketball player who has been successful on the court as well as in the classroom,” DePell said. “The Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy is a rigorous academic high school, and Lexi has done very well there with a tough course load. She will be prepared to take the step up to college athletics because of her experience there, and I know she will represent our program in the best way possible.”

“I am looking forward to carrying on the family tradition that my grandpa started and encouraged,” Turkenburg said. “I am also very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the Montana Tech woman’s basketball team.”

In the classroom, Turkenburg is an All-Star. She has a 4.4 GPA and received the Idaho Top Scholar Award.

The daughter of John and Michelle, she will major in metallurgical Engineering.

— Montana Tech Sports Information