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Villanova joins Toomey recruiting race

The pace with which major college basketball programs are racing to recruit NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls player Ciera Toomey is picking up.

Villanova University became the latest to make an offer to the 6-foot-3 sophomore from Dunmore.

The Villanova offer came a day after the University of Pennsylvania joined the list of schools trying to gain a commitment from Toomey.

Toomey, who led the Hoop Group Showcase League champions in points, rebounds and blocked shots, received her first offer from Penn State Oct. 27.

Two more offers came in last week, starting with Bucknell University. The second of the week came from St. John’s University in New York, the only school outside Pennsylvania to make an offer so far.

This week’s recruiting interest came from schools that are part of Philadelphia’s storied Big Five programs. Villanova won the Big Five title outright for two straight seasons before sharing it with Temple in 2019-20.

Toomey shot 60 percent from the floor with NEPA Elite where she was the only current sophomore on a team otherwise made up of juniors and seniors. Four of her teammates have already committed to scholarships to play on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I level. Scranton Prep seniors Cecelia Collins and Rachael Rose have signed with Bucknell and the University of South Carolina Upstate while juniors Kylie Lavelle from Riverside and Moriah Murray from Dunmore have verbally committed to Drexel University.

The early recruiting of Toomey now includes four Division I scholarship offers and a chance to play at Penn, which, as an Ivy League member, does not offer athletic scholarships.

Toomey was named third-team Class 3A all-state by Pennsylvania Sports Writers as a freshman at Dunmore. She averaged 15.7 points while contributing in many other ways for the Lady Bucks while helping them win Lackawanna League Division 3 and District 2 Class 3A titles.

Villanova went 11-7 in the Big East and 18-13 overall in 2019-20.


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