Women's Basketball Signs Two Talented Post Players

May 4, 2001

BERKELEY - California women's basketball head coach Caren Horstmeyer announced Friday the signing of two outstanding post players, Olga Volkova and Khadijah Coakley (pronounced: CAH-dee-juh), to National Letters of Intent. The duo will enroll at Cal next fall and start playing in the 2001-02 season.

'We needed to fill the void in the post with the graduation of Lauren Ashbaugh and Genevieve Swedor,' said Horstmeyer. 'We have done that by signing two players who we feel can come in and contribute immediately.'

Volkova, originally from the Ukraine, comes to Cal from Merritt College in Oakland. Before playing basketball in the United States, the 6-4 center spent time on the Ukrainian Junior National team. She will have at least three, and possibly four, years of eligibility at Berkeley. The 21-year-old tore her ACL three games into the 2000-01 season and did not play basketball during her first year at Merritt the year before. She chose Cal over Arizona State, which earned a share of the 2001 Pac-10 title.

'Olga is physically strong, very sound fundamentally and works extremely hard,' said Horstmeyer. 'She will be an impact player her first year, and I expect her to surprise some people in the Pac-10. The only question mark will be how her knee responds to the surgery.'

Coakley, a 6-1 post from Kearney High School in San Diego, also was sought after by Pac-10 schools, including UCLA and Arizona State. The 16-year old (skipped a year of school as a youth) brings tremendous athletic and academic credentials to Cal. As a senior, she averaged 9 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 steals and 3 assists, garnering second team all-league and second team all-academic honors. Additionally, she earned a Best Defensive Player in the state award and was selected an NCAA Top Super 60 athlete in San Diego.

Horstmeyer compared Coakley's rebounding ability to Cal junior Ami Forney, who led the Bears this season with 7.9 rpg. 'Khadijah is a quick jumper with a natural instinct to rebound and block shots. Her presence will be felt as a freshman on the defensive end.'

Volkova and Coakley will be joined next year by Cal's four fall prep signees - Leigh Gregory, Kristin Iwanaga, Alisa Lewis and Jackie Lord.

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