Heuer Excited About New Women's Basketball Class

August 11, 2001

Olympia, WA - It is an understatement to say there will be a completely different women's basketball team on the floor for The Evergreen State College this winter. First-year head coach Monica Heuer has completed this year's recruiting process, and eight college transfers, along with three true freshmen, will be in the mix for the Geoducks.

Evergreen returns just three players from last years 3-28 team that set an NAIA Division II record for losses in a season. "I am excited about this season and the student-athletes that are coming to Evergreen," said Heuer. "As we look to run the floor and play pressure defense, it will take a combination of our returners and recruits to get it done."

A key for the Geoducks success will be ball-handling, as the 2000-01 team averaged over 21 turnovers a game. However, Heuer addressed the issue by bringing in a pair of experienced point-guards in sophomore Belqui Guardado (Long Beach, CA/ Patten College) and junior Danyeil Woods (Bellingham, WA/ Centraila CC).

Guardado averaged 18 points and nine assists a game in high school, while Woods uses quickness on both ends of the floor. "Belqui is a smart player who wants the ball in her hands, and Danyeil brings quickness and great ball-handling skills to Evergreen," said Heuer.

The forward position will also be a key for Evergreen, as the squad lost Heather Johnson, who holds school records in eleven different categories, to graduation. Heuer bulked up the roster with the addition of 5-11 sophomore LaTyia Williams (Compton, CA/ Patten College), an inside-outside player that averaged a double-double in high school, along with 5-10 junior Shapree Johnson (Tacoma, WA/ Pierce CC), an All-NWAACC selection last year.

"LaTyia adds versatility, as she is able to post up as well as shoot the outside shot," said Heuer. "Shapree is very quick off her feet and relentless on the boards. Both of them can be very tough to stop."

Both Guardado and Williams come to the South Sound from Patten College - the school that both Heuer and Evergreen athletic director, Dave Weber, once coached at. The athletic program at Patten was disbanded during the summer, leaving a void for the players that Evergreen will fill. "Both players are eager to play and help build this program," Heuer said.

The Geoducks also will have a pair of players from Highline Community College, which won the Western Division of the NWAACC last year. Both Chandra Rathke (Federal Way, WA/ Highline CC) and Kristin Zompetti (Seattle, WA/ Highline CC) averaged in double-figures during the 2000-01 campaign and can hit the outside shot.

Local players round out the transfer list, as 6-0 post Christine Pendergrass (Lakewood, WA/South Puget Sound CC) and point-guard Jessica McCullom (Olympia, WA/ South Puget Sound CC) - both from South Puget Sound CC - look to bolster the Geoduck line-up.

Heuer will also bring in three true freshmen to battle for playing time. Teammates Dodie McCallum (Elma, WA/ Elma HS) and Sara Wallman (Elma, WA/ Elma HS), from Elma High School, along with Wyoming native Toni Jones (Rock Springs, WY/ Wyoming HS) make up the youth of the bunch.

The debut of the Heuer era and her brand of Geoduck basketball will take place Nov. 9, when Evergreen hosts Cascade in the first-round of the Phoenix Inn Suites Tip-Off Tournament.