Stanford Women's Basketball Signs Talented Duo To National Letters Of Intent

Nov. 11, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford Basketball continued its success on the recruiting trail as head coach Tara VanDerveer announced the signing of a pair of talented prep stars to National Letters of Intent Wednesday. VanDerveer's recruiting class of 2009 is bolstered by the addition of guards Sara James (El Dorado Hills, Calif./Oak Ridge HS) and Toni Kokenis (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central HS).

'We are very excited to welcome Sara and Toni to the Stanford family,' VanDerveer said. 'They are a very competitive, very talented duo and will each do very well here at Stanford. They will contribute immediately to this team and as exceptional individuals both on the court and in the classroom, I look forward to Sara and Toni being very successful here at Stanford.'

The talented duo of student-athletes is set to make its Stanford women's basketball debut in the fall of 2010.

James, a 5-10 guard, will add depth to Stanford's backcourt not only with her scoring ability but also her skill for crashing the boards. The El Dorado Hills, Calif. native has seen her scoring and rebounding totals go up in each of her three prep seasons, culminating in 2008-09 with a double-double average of 20.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Over her first three seasons, James is averaging 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

Her standout junior season culminated with Oak Ridge capturing the Division II CIF San Joaquin Section title, and on the club level, James helped lead her JBS (Just Believe Sports) Purple squad to four tournament finals over the summer, including title victories in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

'Choosing to play basketball at Stanford was one of the easiest decisions I've ever made,' James said. '[Stanford's] combination of academic and athletic excellence separates the institution from all others, however the quality of people on campus and in the women's basketball program was ultimately the deciding factor. Tara VanDerveer has created such a successful program, and I can't wait to continue my passion for basketball with her as my coach.'

The next guard joining the Cardinal mix is Kokenis, a 5-11 guard with considerable ballhandling skills as well as the ability to score off the dribble or from the outside. At Hinsdale (Ill.) High School, Kokenis averages 14.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.43 assists per game through her first three years as a prep. Her numbers peaked in 2008-09, as Kokenis scored 17.9 points per game while passing out 169 assists, a total that was slightly more than double that of the previous season.

Kokenis is a two-time Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) All-State selection and has thrice earned all-conference honors while at Hinsdale. Additionally, following her junior year she was named the Daily Herald's All-Area first-team Captain and MVP.

'I chose Stanford because it will challenge me both in the classroom with its rigorous academics and on the basketball court where I can play for one of the brightest basketball minds in the country,' Kokenis said. 'I look forward to working with Coach Vanderveer and her staff every day to become the best person I can be both on and off the court.'

The 2009-10 Stanford women's basketball team opens the new campaign Friday, Oct. 13 at 4 p.m. PT at Old Dominion.

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