Trojans Welcome Four Newcomers To Women's Basketball

Nov. 21, 2008

USC head coach Mark Trakh has hauled in another top-10 recruiting class for the next women's basketball season, boasting a bumper crop of incoming talent with the signings of Kendall Hackney, Christina Marinacci, Monique Oliver and Vicky Tagalicod to join the Women of Troy in 2009. California products Marinacci (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill HS) and Oliver (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS) are both highly ranked recruits, and are joined by out-of-state additions Hackney (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) and Tagalicod (Honolulu, Hawai'i/Hilo HS) who also come in as top picks out of their respective states. All told, USC's class of new signees is ranked No. 4 in the nation by Blue Star and is No. 5 according to USA Today.

'I think it's one of the best classes that we've got,' Trakh said. 'This is our third top-10 class since we've been here, as we've had classes ranked No. 1, No. 9 and now No. 5. If we ever get all the athletes we've recruited out there on the floor at the same time, we're going to be a top-10 program. And we're not done, yet. We're hopefully going to have some additions in the late signing period.'

Oliver (No. 6), Marinacci (No. 35) and Hackney (No. 55) all have earned themselves picks within the ESPN HoopGurlz Hundred for this year's recruits.

USC's highest ranked signee in the class, Monique Oliver, hails from nearby Long Beach, Calif., and selected the Trojans out of a group of other elite collegiate programs. A 6-3 post player, Oliver began her high school career at Cheyenne High in North Las Vegas, Nev., before moving to Long Beach for her junior and senior years. A two-time Streetsmith honorable mention recipient while at Cheyenne, Oliver also picked up All-State honors both years and set a school record as a sophomore with 47 points and 28 rebounds in a single game. As a junior at Long Beach Poly, Oliver won a state championship and was an all-league, all-CIF and all-state honoree as well as a 4th Team All-American and 5th Team All-American in Sporting News. Entering her senior year at Poly, Oliver has been selected to the Sporting News First Team.

'Monique is the No. 6 ranked player in the country and is one of the top post players,' Trakh said of Monique Oliver. 'It was down to us, Texas, Rutgers, Duke and Maryland. She's the monster we've been looking for - a great rebounder, great with her back to the basket, and she can shoot a 15-footer. She loves contact and that's what we love about this kid. And she's local.'

Christina Marinacci hails from Foothill High School in Santa Ana, Calif., and boasts a No. 35 ranking from HoopGurlz and is 29th according to The 6-2 forward is a three-time league champion and was the Cal-Hi Sports State Freshman and Sophomore of the Year and is a two-time league MVP. She has twice been selected to the OC Register First Team All-County and earned 2006 and 2007 All-CIF First Team honors. In 2008, she was a member of the LA Times All-Star Team.

'Christina is ranked the 35th best player in the country,' Trakh said of Marinacci. 'She's tall, athletic, shoots the three and gets up and down the floor. She's one of best players to come out of Orange County. She gives us another big wing, we have a history of big wings and she fits that.'

Kendall Hackney comes to Troy from Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, bringing with her three state titles. A 6-2 fowrard ranked No. 55 by HoopGurlz and 38th in, she also earned herself back-to-back pics as the Ohio Division II State Tournament MVP and won First Team all-league honors in 2007.

'Kendall has been on three consecutive state championship teams,' Trakh said of Hackney. 'She's a versatile post who can play with her back to the basket and can shoot the three.'

The fourth addition to USC's elite class of newcomers is Hawai'i product Vicky Tagalicod out of Hilo High School. A 5-9 guard, she has been a Honolulu Advertiser All-State Second Team pick the past three years. Tagalicod has picked up numerous all-tournament team accolades during her prep career, and is a three-time member of the Hawaii Star Bulletin Fab 15.

'The sleeper of the group is Vicky from Hawaii,' Trakh said of Tagalicod. 'She might be the best player to come out of Hawai'i. She plays the 1 and 2, she's big and strong and can get to the rim.'

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