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Russo Inks Three to 2012-13 Panther Basketball Squad
          Release: 06/29/2012
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MIAMI (June 29, 2012) - FIU women's basketball Head Coach Cindy Russo has announced the addition of three student-athletes to the Panther basketball team, as Marita Davydova, Katrina Epnere and Taylor Shade are set to join the squad in 2012-13.

Davydova hails from Moscow, Russia, and is a 10-year basketball veteran, as she comes to FIU as a junior transfer from Russian State Agrarian University. In high school, Davydova boasted averages of 31.2 points, 17.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.0 steals per contest, earning MVP honors from 2008-10. The 6-foot-3 center led her squads to the Russian Junior Championships from 2006-08 before finishing as runners-up in 2009-10. Davydova will be competing for Russia in the U-20 European Championships this summer.

Epnere is a two-time MVP out of Riga State Gymnasium No. 1, as she has been an all-star for five years in the Latvian Youth League. A native of Riga, Latvia, Epnere led her youth league squad to a first-place finish in 2009-10, and averaged 19.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.0 steals per game for her career, also totaling 57 blocks. The 5-foot-9 guard/forward also owns club experience, having played for TTT Riga in 2011-12.

Shade, a Boynton Beach, Fla., native, was a three-time MVP at Boynton Beach Community High School and is coming off a 2011-12 season in which she led the Tigers to a district championship. The 5-foot-6 point guard has received multiple all-state, all-conference and all-area accolades, and was a nominee for the 2012 McDonald's All-American Game. In addition, Shade posted Boynton Beach High School's only triple-double in girls' basketball history, as she once registered 26 points, 12 assists and 10 steals.

FIU is coming off a 2011-12 season in which the Panthers compiled a record of 23-11 and posted their second-straight, 10-win conference season with a ledger of 10-6. FIU advanced to its second-consecutive SBC Championship semifinal and earned an at-large bid to the Postseason WNIT.

About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 18 different sports, and is a proud member of the Sun Belt Conference and an affiliate member of Conference USA (men's soccer). Athletic events are played in seven different venues on FIU's campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including U.S. Century Bank Arena and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.

About FIU: Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida's anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission and enrolls nearly 48,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. More than 140,000 alumni live and work in South Florida. FIU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference and has 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit

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Marita Davydova, Katrina Epnere and Taylor Shade are set to join the FIU women's basketball team in 2012-13.
Marita Davydova, Katrina Epnere and Taylor Shade are set to join the FIU women's basketball team in 2012-13.

Courtesy: Samuel Lewis/Richard Lewis
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