Princeton head women's basketball coach Courtney Banghart announced the addition of five student-athletes to join the three-time defending Ivy League Champion Tigers for the 2012-13 campaign. Joining Princeton as the Class of 2016 is: Amanda Berntsen, Michelle Miller, Annie Tarakchian, Alexandra "Alex" Wheatley and Taylor Williams.
"It's with enormous pride that my staff and I welcome these five remarkable scholar-athletes to the Tiger program. We set out each year to find the nation's best. We strive to find players that can help us grow and expand this great Princeton basketball tradition. We are relentless in finding people of high character and those that are driven to excellence. We aim to find good teammates, scholar-athletes that want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and first and foremost, want to be a part of something great. We hit a home run with this Class of 2016 and are counting down the days until they put on the orange and black. Amanda, Michelle, Annie, Alex and Taylor are joining a program where they will write their own story and the sky is the limit. They have great leadership ahead of them and the Tiger faithful all around them. We all eagerly await their arrival," said Banghart, who enters her sixth season at the helm of the program next year.
Amanda Berntsen • G • 5-8Chatham, N.J./Chatham High School
The all-time leading scorer both male or female at Chatham, Amanda Berntsen helped guide the Cougars to three sectional and conference titles over her four-year career. During her tenure, CHS went 106-17 overall. Berntsen is the sixth-leading scorer in Morris County, was a McDonald's All-America nominee and a two-time Group 2 State runner-up. She was a four-time all-conference selection and all-area honoree, and a three-time Star Ledger All-State selection and team MVP. As a sophomore, junior and senior, she was named by the Star Ledger as one of the top-10 girls in the state.
Berntsen also was a four-year starter in soccer, earning all-county, all-conference and All-State honors. She also played one year of lacrosse.
She played AAU basketball for the New Jersey Northstars for two years, earning All-State recognition at the US Junior Nationals. She was the club's leading scorer during that span.
Bernsten's older brother Jeremy plays basketball at Wheaton College and her twin brother Jonathan will join the Wheaton men's team this fall.
Michelle Miller • G • 5-10Pasadena, Calif./Pasadena Polytechnic High School
A three-sport varsity athlete at Pasadena Poly, Michelle Miller was a four-year starter for the Panther's girl's basketball team. She is ranked by ESPN HoopGurlz as the No. 68 wing in the nation and is a three-star prospect. In 2011, she was named the California D5 State Athlete of the Year for all sports after moving into second all-time in the California CIF-SS scoring list ahead of both Lisa Leslie and Diana Taurasi and only behind Cheryl Miller with 3,331 career points. She is fifth all-time in the state of California in career points and led the state in scoring from 2009-12, finishing her high school career third all-time in career points per game with 30.6. Miller was the Pasadena Star News Athlete of the Year three times, a 2011 Maxpreps California State D5 First Team selection and the 2010 Maxpreps California State D5 MPV. She earned All-CIF-SS honors four times, including Player of the Year accolades twice. Miller helped lead Poly to the league championship all four years, earning team MVP and league MVP honors along the way each season.
Miller was also a four-year letterwinner in volleyball and swimming. In volleyball, she earned All-CIF-SS honors twice, and 2011 Maxpreps D3 All-State Second Team and Pasadena Star News All-Area First Team accolades. In swimming, she was the 2010 league champion in both the 50 and 100 free, was team MVP twice and advanced to the CIF-SS D2 Championships three times.
She earned multiple all-tournament honors playing AAU basketball for Salesian Force, Cal Swish Black I and Cal Storm Team Taurasi. Miller also played for SGV Basketball Club for five seasons and helped guide the team to the AAU U13 National Championship.
A National Merit Finalist and AP Scholar with Distinction, Miller plans on pursuing a pre-med focus at Princeton.
Annie Tarakchian • G/F • 6-0
West Hills, Calif./Charminade College Prep
A four-year starter at Charminade College Prep, Annie Tarakchian is a three-time All-Mission League selection. As a junior and senior, she earned consecutive Mission League MVP and First Team accolades. From 2010-12, Tarakchian helped guide the Eagles to a 51-9 record, consecutive Mission League Championships and was named her team MVP both seasons. The guard/forward scored over 1,000 points during her career and holds CCP's record for most rebounds with 1,281.
Tarakchian also played one year with West Coast Premier, helping guide the team to a 45-6 record. She was named MVP of the Swift Tournament and Nike Oasis Tournament, in addition to earning multiple all-tournament honors.
She is trilingual and is the first member of her family to attend a four-year American university.
Alexandra "Alex" Wheatley • F • 6-2Upper Holland, Pa./Council Rock High School South
A four-time all-league selection, Alex Wheatley helped guide Council Rock South to the Elite Eight in the 2011-12 Pennsylvania State Tournament and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010-11. She is the No. 22 forward in the nation and is a four-star prospect by ESPN HoopGurlz. The first person to reach the 1,000 point and rebound milestone in South history, Wheatley was the Courier Times Golden Teams Player of the Year twice and is a two-time All-Southeastern PA and All-State honoree. She was named the Suburban One League Player of the Year in 2011 and was her team's MVP three times.
Wheatley also was a three-time all-league selection in track and field, competing in 400 m, 4 x 400 m, 800 m and 4 x 800 m races and the high jump.
She played for the Philadelphia Belles AAU team for five years, helping the team qualify for the AAU Nationals throughout her tenure. The team finished in top-10 in 2009 and 2010, and Wheatley earned AAU All-America honors in 2010 and was an Adidas Junior Phenom Camp All-Star Team selection.
Wheatley, a National Merit Finalist, is passionate about green and ecological initiatives, and plans on majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology.
Taylor Williams • F • 6-3Warren, Ohio/Howland High School
ESPN HoopGurlz No. 15 post in the nation and a four-star prospect, Taylor Williams was a four-year starter at Howland High. She earned all-league, all-conference, All-Northeast Inland and All-State Second Team honors over her career. Williams finisher her career ranked second in Ohio state history in field goal percentage. In Howland history she holds school records in: points scored as a freshman and as a sophomore, points in a career; field goal percentage in a game, a season and career; blocked shots in a game, a season and career; and career rebounds.
Williams also was a four-year letterwinner and all-league selection in soccer, and earned one letter in track and field.
She played for two years for AAU club team SMAC Lady Elite.
William's older sister Alexa played for the Lehigh women's basketball team from 2008-12.