T-Birds Women’s Basketball adds three more recruits to their 2022 Class


VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds women’s basketball roster continues to take shape thanks to an influx of talent from Central Canada, Eastern Canada and Germany. Head Coach Erin McAleenan announced today that the T-Birds have added three more players to their 2022 recruiting class: Emilia Banmann, Mona Berlitz and Kiarra Kelly.

“We searched all over for the right fit to complement our 2022 recruiting class, and we know Emilia, Mona and Kiarra will all fit in great with the culture we are building,” said UBC head coach Erin McAleenan, who was just appointed to the coaching staff of Team Canada’s Women’s 3×3 squad set to compete at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England later this month. “They each bring strong backgrounds of success both on the court and in the classroom, and they have proven that they know what it takes to win. Mona’s experience of playing professionally will be a tremendous addition to our daily training environment, while Mia’s hard work , dedication and length in the forward position will be great assets. Kiarra just came off a very successful season and is a true point guard who loves to create for her teammates. can’t wait to have them on campus this fall.”

Emilia Banmann (Winnipeg, MB) heads West to UBC after playing last season with the both the St. Mary’s Academy Flames and TAP (Targeted Athletic Program) Manitoba. The 6’2″ forward averaged 26 points-per-game along with 18 rebounds and 5.8 blocks. Last season Banmann earned provincial all-star honors and was named the Varsity AAAA player of the year. She was also the recipient of the Manitoba” Players Choice” award and is also representing Manitoba’s U18 Team at the Canada Summer Games in Niagra, Ont. this summer.

Banmann, an honor roll student in both 2021 and 2022 added, “UBC offers me so many opportunities: An athletic program where I can develop my skills on the court, great teammates and coaches, high academics, and it’s in a great city.”

Mona Berlitz Recruit 1

The ‘Birds went international with their next recruit – 6’1″ combo guard/forward Mona Berlitz (Schrobenhausen, Bavaria, GER). Berlitz is coming off a championship season with the Nearle Bulls (TSV 1861 Nördlingen – 3rd division Regionalliga SuedOst). In the championship clinching game she posted 23 points along with 11 rebounds and three steals. She also suited up for Eigner Angels Nördlingen in Germany’s First Division (Toyota DBBL – 1. Damen Basketball Bundesliga).

“Even though Vancouver is 8000 km from my home, I already feel warmly welcomed and comfortable after I had plenty of conversations with coaches, staff and players. Everyone was very kind, open, ambitious and helpful and I can wait to be part of the T-Bird community,” acknowledged Berlitz who has twice in recent years been elected by her classmates to deliver a graduation speech.

Kiara Kelly Recruit

Rounding out the 2022 recruiting class is 5’5″ point guard Kiarra Kelly (Toronto, Ont.). Kelly, a graduate of Thornlea Secondary School and the Durham City Chameleons, joins the nest after averaging 6.5 points-per-game along with 1.7 assists and 2.1 steals. Kelly helped lead the Chameleons to a 17-2 record and a JUEL Championship.

“I am super excited for the journey that is ahead,” commented Kelly. “The most appealing part about becoming a Thunderbird was the high-performance culture as well as Coach Erin’s holistic coaching philosophy, personality and her transparency throughout the whole recruiting process. From the beginning she has been very helpful, taking the time to answer my questions and providing ways that I can improve on my skill set. She also took the time to understand me not only as a student athlete but also as a person.”

The UBC Thunderbirds are proud to welcome Emilia Banmann, Mona Berlitz and Kiarra Kelly as part of the 2022 recruit class which includes six exciting off-season additions. Emilia, Mona and Kiarra join fellow T-Birds newcomers Taelor Coxford, Cerys Merton and Stella LaGrange who were introduced to supporters of the Blue and Gold in late June.

The first-year T-Birds are making their way into town and following some of their Provincial Team commitments at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, they’ll join their new teammates who continue to train regularly as the young squad looks to build chemistry ahead of tipping of their 2022-23 Canada West campaign. All gets underway with the ‘Birds hosting the UNBC Timberwolves for back-to-back games on Saturday, November 12 and Sunday, November 13, both games get underway at 2:00 pm

T-Birds 2022-23 Canada West season schedule

Leave a Comment