MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University women’s basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit has announced the signing of Imarianah “Mari” Russell to a grant-in-aid for the 2022-23 academic year.
A 6-foot guard out of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Russell played for Reynoldsburg High School and her travel team, Sports City U. Rated as a four-star prospect by ESPN, she checks in as the No. 83 player in the class of 2022 by ESPN.
“We are very excited to welcome Mari to our Mountaineer family,” Plitzuweit said. “She is a tremendous competitor and proved that by bringing home a state championship this past season! Mari’s also a very versatile player, as she can shoot it, attack the rim, post up, rebound and defend just about any position on the floor as well. The combination of everything she brings allows her to be a great fit for our program! We are thrilled to welcome Mari and the Russell family to our WVU women’s basketball program!”
Russell was selected as an all-state player in Ohio each of her four seasons during high school, including back-to-back appearances on the Division I First Team in 2020-21 and 2021-22. She also was named to the All-Ohio Cardinal Conference (OCC) first team and the all-district team, including two appearances on the first team. From 2020-21, she was a member of the Super 12 Ohio All-Star first team and captained the squad as a junior in 2020-21.
A 2,000-point scorer and team captain for Reynoldsburg, Russell was named the team defensive MVP and freshman of the year in 2018-19, the team offensive MVP and her district’s top scorer in 2019-20 and the team MVP in 2020-21.
As a senior in 2021-22, Russell led Reynoldsburg to a 27-2 record, including an 11-0 mark in the OCC’s Buckeye division, and the school’s first appearance in the Ohio Division I State Championship Game. In the championship, Russell scored 28 points, eclipsing 2,000 career points in the process, to lead the Raiders to their first-ever state title.
Additionally, Russell was nominated for the 2021-22 McDonald’s All-America Game and the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Game as a senior. She also was named the Ohio Division I Player of the Year in 2021-22. At season’s end, Russell was named a finalist for Ohio’s Ms. Basketball Award and finished as the runner-up for the honor.
She is the daughter of Hammond III and Natasha Russell. Her brother, Hammond IV, currently plays on the WVU football team.