Stockton, Calif. - A pair of Pac-12 players will transfer to join the Pacific women's basketball team for the 2013-14 season head coach Lynne Roberts announced Friday. Forward Marjie Heard will come to Pacific from the University of Washington, while guard Erin Butler joins the Tigers from the University of Arizona.
Heard will be a junior for 2013-14, while Butler will be a sophomore. Both players will have to sit out the 2012-13 season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.
"We are very excited to announce the signing of Pac-12 transfers Marjie Heard and Erin Butler," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "Both had success at their previous schools and I anticipate both of them being able to contribute right away in 2013. We will graduate five key seniors next spring, and it was our hope to be able to bring in some experienced players that will get a year of practice in our system as they redshirt per NCAA transfer rules. Adding Marjie and Erin to our group in 2013 enable us to maintain momentum as we head into the West Coast Conference."
Heard, a 6-1 forward from Snohomish, Wash. played the last two seasons for the Huskies. She was named All-Pac-10 Freshman Team Honorable Mention in 2010-11 as she played in all 28 games, starting 12 as a freshman. Heard finished fourth on the team in scoring with 7.3 points per game. She shot 46 percent from the field and knocked down 54 of 73 free throw attempts. Heard ranked third on the team in rebounds with 4.7 per game, hauling in 132 boards. She scored a career high 18 points with 12 rebounds in a game against Oregon and won the team's Kayla Burst "Most Inspirational" award, a rarity for a Washington freshman.
Her sophomore season saw a new coach in control of the program, and Heard played 12 games and started once before tearing her ACL. She missed the rest of the season after averaging 2.3 points in the first 12 games, with 2.8 rebounds per contest.
Rated as a top 50 forward recruit by HoopGurlz after graduating from Glacier Peak High School, Heard will have two years of eligibility remaining once she joins Pacific.
"Getting to know Marjie when she was in high school, we always thought having her here at Pacific would be a great fit for both of us," Roberts said. "It's great to get the chance to finally coach her. She will bring an immediate physical presence for us – she works extremely hard, rebounds tough, has great hands, and can score inside and out."
Butler played one season at Arizona. The 5-11 guard played 25 games, starting seven. She averaged 3.4 points per game and 11.4 minutes per contest. On the year, Butler connected on 42 percent of her three-point attempts, knocking down 24 triples. She posted nine assists, eight steals and averaged 0.8 rebounds per contest.
She turned in a pair of 20-point games, with a career-best 23 against Oregon, hitting seven-of-10 three-pointers and 8-of-12 from the field. Against Washington State, she scored 21 points on eight-of-11 shooting, knocking down five of eight three-point attempts. In her first collegiate game, Butler tallied 10 points hitting all three of her shots from behind the arc.
From Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Butler was a four-year letter-winner for Mission Viejo High School and was named a three-time all-conference and 2009-10 first-team All-CIF honoree.
"Erin is a tremendous shooter with a quick release," Roberts said. "I think Erin will thrive in our up-tempo system: being able to spot up and knock down three-pointers. I think her height will be a really nice attribute for our two-guard position."
The duo will help off-set the Tigers' loss of five seniors scheduled to graduate in May of 2013: starters Ashley Wakefield, Erica McKenzie and Kendall Rodriguez, as well as Brianna Johnson and Ashley Smith.
"Signing Erin and Marjie allows us to really refine our focus for the rest of our 2013-14 roster as we continue to raise the bar with the talent being brought in at Pacific as we head towards the WCC."
Heard and Butler will suit up for Pacific in the women's basketball programs' first season in the West Coast Conference in 2013-14. The Tigers are coming off a 18-14 season in which Pacific earned its first post-season tournament win, advancing to the second round of the WNIT.
The Tigers are scheduled to return 12 of 13 letter-winners from last season's team for 2012-13.