Eastern Oregon breaks Evergreen's winning streak

June 24, 2004

James J. Portune

Olympia, WA - The pieces necessary to build a high caliber NAIA women's basketball team continue to fall in place for the Evergreen State College Women's Basketball program. This week head coach Monica Heuer, who is entering her third season at the helm of the Geoducks, announced the singing of three premier players, Shakira Rule (Sacramento City College / Sacramento, CA), Liz Rizza (South Eugene High School / Eugene, OR) and Jenny Olson (Deer Park High School / WA).

"The summer has just begun and I am already excited about this coming season," said coach Heuer. "This year recruiting class will be a good fit with our returning veterans."

After a year off from basketball, Shakira (a.k.a. Shaq) Rule is ready to get back on the court. A 5'3" pure point guard, who played two years ago at Sacramento City College, Rule has the experience, athleticism and style that will compliment returning starters Alicia Riddle's and Shiante Reed's game very well. Averaging nine points and eight assists per game, Rule likes to push the ball up the court and feed the open player.

"Shakira makes good decisions with the ball," coach Heuer added, "and we are looking forward to her leadership this coming season."

When asked what it was that helped her decided that Evergreen was the place for her, Shakira said, "the coaching staff and the competitiveness of open gym. Coach Monica was really cool and coach Myke (Heuer) was generally concerned about my future. And, then when I played in open gym against the other recruits I knew that this was the place for me. The girls are very competitive and we are going to have a good team this coming year."

Usually from a player recognized for their defensive skills, as freshman Liz Rizza is, named "Best Defensive Player" at last summer Stanford Elite Basketball Camp, you do not expect big offensive numbers. But that is not the case for this 5'8" guard. Last year at South Eugene High School (Eugene, Ore.) Rizza averaged 10 points per game and five rebounds. Also an up-tempo type player, Rizza and Rule will be an exciting pair to watch on the floor.

"Liz is a very determined young lady," said coach Heuer, "and we are excited to about what she will bring to our team next season and in the years to come."

Rizza's path to Evergreen State College went through Stanford University. "Coach Cindy Brown, at the Stanford basketball camp, hooked me up with coach (Curtis) Norwood. When I came to visit Evergreen, the coaching staff made me feel welcome, the team was very nice and I had lots of fun."

An inside presence was the missing element of last year women's basketball. With the signing of 5'10" freshman post Jenny Olson that Achilles' heel may have been eliminated. Averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds per game, a double-double, for Deer Park High School last winter, Olson was named 1st-Team All League and 1st-Team All State. Not afraid to mix it up inside and go strong to the basket, she also was honored as Seattle Times Female Athlete of the Week and Spokesman's Female Athlete of the Week.

"She is also great defensive player," added coach Heuer. "Her presence will be felt right away, on both ends of the floor."

The Evergreen State College Women's Basketball team begin their 2003-04 season at home November 7th & 8th, as host of the King Oscar Women's Basketball Tournament.