LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech Lady Raider basketball coach Krista Gerlich has announced the signings of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday afternoon. Chantae Embry, Saga Ukkonen and Lana Wenger will join the program for the 2021-22 season.
“I’m very proud of this signing class we put together and the immediate impact they will have on our program,” Gerlich said. “We were able to add a heady, fundamental point guard, a strong, versatile forward and a lengthy, athletic post player. But what I’m most excited about is their work ethic, winning mindset and love tor the game! Lady Raider Nation will enjoy watching this group play and help take us to the next level!”
Norman, Okla. // Norman High School
6-1 // Forward
Playing Career: Chantae Embry has had an impressive high school career thus far, and is heralded as one of the top recruits in the country by a number of outlets, boasting a four-star rating and ranking No. 67 overall and the No. 14 forward according to ESPN. She also ranks in the top 100 of the 2021 signing class according to Vype. Embry played her junior season at Norman High School in 2019-20, and averaged 16.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game while leading Norman to a 24-1 record, and championships at the conference, district, regional and area levels, along with a national top-25 ranking in the ESPNW poll. The future Lady Raider earned Suddenlink First Team All-State honors by MaxPreps and All-City Second Team, while also making All-Tournament Teams at the Joe Lawson Invitational and 2020 Titan Classic.
As a freshman at Prague High School, Embry averaged 23 points and 13.1 rebounds and garnered a number of individual honors, including conference MVP, All-Star Preps Star Player of the Year, Second Team All-USA Oklahoma Girls Basketball Team, and Vype Class 3A First Team. That season, she led Prague to district and regional championships, as well as advancing to the first round of state.
Personal: Chantae Embry was born Oct. 16, 2002 to mother Rhonda Embry. She has four older siblings: Montreal, Cherelle, Darnel and Ray. Embry enjoys listening to music, hanging out with her best friend Karley and her mom, shopping, playing basketball, watching movies, dancing and watching TikToks. At Texas Tech, she hopes to be a successful student athlete, hopefully win a national championship, get her college degree, and find out what she loves and wants to do in my life. She is currently undecided on a major.
From Coach Gerlich:“Chantae will be one of the most versatile players on our roster. She is naturally strong, has great versatility and comes from a terrific high school program. Chantae can take opponents off the bounce, if she catches the ball in the paint she will score or get fouled and she has three-point range. She loves the game, plays with a lot of passion and always has a smile on her face. Another one I can’t wait to coach!”
Helsinki, Finland // Mäkelänrinne High School
5-9 // Point Guard
Playing Career: Hailing from Finland, Saga Ukkonen comes to Lubbock after playing the last three seasons with Helsinki’s FBA Märsky club team. During the 2019-20 season, Ukkonen averaged 8.8 points, 1.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. She dreams of one day playing pro basketball in Europe.
Playing with the Helmi Capitals, Ukkonen has helped lead the team to deep runs in the U19 Finnish Championship each of the last three seasons. She and the Capitals won the U19 Finnish Championship title in 2016-17, and have finished second at the tournament each of the last two years. She helped push the team to a third-place finish at the U16 Finnish Championship in 2015. Ukkonen has also represented Finland at the Nordic and European Championships. She has been a part of two WU18 Nordic Championship teams in 2018 and 2019, and finished second at the WU16 Nordic Championships in 2016. Ukkonen helped lead her team to a WU18 European Championship Division B title in 2019 and finished second in WU20 European Championship Division B last year as well.
Personal: Saga Ukkonen was born April 28, 2001 in Helsinki, Finland to parents Tero and Sanna Ukkonen. She has one younger brother, Verneri. Ukkonen enjoys everything related to music, especially playing guitar. She plans to major in business at Texas Tech.
From Coach Gerlich:“Saga first caught my eye with her ability to work the ball screen. She has great instincts, fundamentals and court vision. She is a high IQ point guard and will make those around her better and I’m excited to coach her.”
Hersberg, Switzerland // Futures Academy
6-4 // Forward
Playing Career: Lana Wenger is set to come to Tech from the Futures Academy, based in Walnut Creek, Calif. Wenger has had a strong high school career thus far, including a strong sophomore campaign in which she averaged 13.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.6 steals per game—then at Monte Vista High School.
As a sophomore, Wenger achieved all-league honorable mention honors and was named Most Outstanding Offensive Player, as well as the MVP of the West Coast Jamboree. In 2019, she was also a CIF North Coast nominee for the Cal-Hi All-State Team.
Personal: Lana Wenger was born Jan. 13, 2003 in Santa Monica, Calif., to parents Andy and Andrea Wenger. She enjoys diving and underwater photography. Wenger plans to major in Ecology & Environmental Biology, and hopes to one day be a marine biologist specializing in shark behavioral research.
From Coach Gerlich:“Lana is an athletic stretch four that can run the floor and rebound the basketball. She has great footwork and guard skills that will make her hard to defend from the high post. Lana’s personality is infectious and will instantly be a crowd favorite. I love how hard she plays.”
(Courtesy: Texas Tech Sports Communications Department)