There are a few changes, but not at the top with Jordin Canada of Windward and Katie Lou Samuelson of Mater Dei in the midst of big-time seasons. Mariya Moore of Richmond Salesian is now a clear-cut No. 3 while other risers include Lajahna Drummer of Long Beach Poly and Charisse Holloway of Stockton St. Mary’s.
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There was a preseason tracker of top Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year candidates and those positions are listed in parentheses.
Note: Cal-Hi Sports lists Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year honorees back to 1905 in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book files and has players of the year by division and year in school. Many of these files and features will be part of our Gold Club subscription to this site. Join our team today by CLICKING HERE.
(Player rankings by Harold Abend; Writeups by Mark Tennis & Harold Abend)
1. (1) Jordin Canada (Windward, Los Angeles) Sr.
The girl that got edged out by Kelsey Plum (the Washington freshman that just went for 30 points in a huge upset of Stanford) was the leader coming into the season despite coming off a knee injury. She’s done nothing to disappoint. In fact, the way she played at the MLK event at Stockton St. Mary’s and then took over against Long Beach Poly has probably strengthened her position for the top spot. In a game against Bishop’s, whose coach Marlon Wells favored Plum over Canada last season for Ms. Basketball, makes no bones about it this season. “We had them on the ropes but oh man, that Canada. You can say all you want but Canada is the best player in the state, and maybe the country.” The UCLA-bound point guard is currently averaging 16.3 points, 6.1 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 steals per game and has a three-to-one assist to turnover ratio.
2. (2) Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Jr.
“Lou” as she’s called, remains No. 2, but not as far behind Canada as she is ahead of new No. 3 Mariya Moore. She may not end up as the state’s all-time leading three-point shooter, but there has never been a three-point shooter like her before. She’s 6-foot-3 so she can shoot over just about anyone, and her release is as fast as any boy, with fingers barely touching the ball before she launches. Her inside game and physicality has vastly improved as well. At this stage of her career, Lou is very reminiscent of Elena Delle Donne, although not as tall. Despite being yanked after or even before three quarters in many games, Samuelson is averaging 27.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.3 steals, and she’s shooting 57 percent from three-point range, 51 percent overall and 90-percent from the free-throw line. The junior is rumored to have narrowed her college choices to Notre Dame, Connecticut, Louisville and UCLA, with Stanford in the mix as well. All she needs is one huge signature outing – like a 35-point explosion in a potential game against Windward – and she can move to the top of this heap.
3. (5) Mariya Moore (Salesian, Richmond) Sr.
After the way she’s played since returning from a bad flu that sidelined her for two games at the Nike TOC and visibly slowed her at the West Jamboree, the solidly-built 5-foot-11 Louisville-bound wing has been like a woman amongst girls. Despite being slowed by the flu, she came out firing on all cylinders in the opening game of the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree, and finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and three steals in a 67-56 victory over nationally-ranked Shabazz (Newark, New Jersey). She knocked Oregon’s top team, South Medford, out of the national rankings after going for a quadruple-double 19 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds and 10 steals in a 70-68 victory at the MLK event in Stockton. Besides the quad, Moore has four triple-doubles and 10 double-doubles in 25 games, with the latest double-double a 28-point, 17-rebound performance in a 62-51 win over arch-rival Berkeley St. Mary’s. Like Canada and Samuelson, Moore takes over games, but in a more physical manner. On the season, she has per game averages of 18.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 3.8 steals.
4. (3) Mikayla Cowling (St. Mary’s, Berkeley) Sr.
Cowling is another girl that had a bout with the flu that affected the team in showcase games at the MLK event at Stockton. Since then, even in the recent loss to Salesian, Cowling has impressed. No one works harder on the court than the 6-foot-1 Cowling. After an unbelievable summer that saw her tied for the third-highest mark in the 2013 Girls of Summer rankings, the Cal-bound Cowling has moved up the ladder to be the No. 2 rated wing and No. 11 rated overall player in the nation by ESPN. She is currently averaging 16.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.2 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.
5. (4) Gabby Green (St. Mary’s, Berkeley) Sr.
For one game to show how impressive the 6-foot-2 forward with guard skills can be, scoring 18 points with 15 rebounds and eight assists when the Panthers handed No. 1 Mater Dei its only loss is a great place to start. The McDonald’s All-American and Cal signee (where she’ll continue to play with current teammat Mikayla Cowling) was playing with fire until she hurt her shoulder last week during a game against Salesian of Richmond. According to Mitch Stephens of MaxPreps and the San Francisco Chronicle, who got through to head coach Nate Fripp, she was having an MRI on the right shoulder but it wasn’t believed to be broken or dislocated. When Cal-Hi Sports finally talked to Fripp mid-week, the MRI was canceled but the shoulder was in a sling and resting with no games this week.
6. (7) Natalie Romeo (Carondelet, Concord) Sr.
The way she has played, basically carrying the Cougars to a No. 8 or higher ranking in the state all season, makes her deserving of a slight bump in this tracker. Romeo’s overall numbers for rebounds, assists and steals are way up and she’s still scoring at a 19.3 per game clip. She has checked in with a triple-double already this week against Monte Vista of Danville (13 points, 10 rebounds 10 steals) and is averaging 7.7 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game. The University of Nebraska recruit should go past 2,000 career points scored in her next couple of games.
7. (11) Kris Simon (Windward, Los Angeles) Sr.
This is a good bump for the USC-bound Simon and deserving. Teammate Jordin Canada is tops on the tracker, but Simon also has looked like the top pure big girl in the state right now. Against St. Mary’s of Stockton, she was the difference with 24 points and 23 rebounds. And against Long Beach Poly’s tall front line, she had 14 points and 17 rebounds and controlled the action inside the key. Coach Vanessa Nygaard reports that Simon is averaging 13.6 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.
8. (NR) Lajahna Drummer (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) Sr.
As we said in the preseason Ms. Basketball tracker, we would add Drummer once she began actually playing games for the Jackrabbits in January. She has and she’s now on the move. The UCLA-bound McDonald’s All-American, who transferred from St. Bernard of Playa del Rey, started slow and isn’t benefitting from Poly’s blowout wins in league games. She did just get 17 points and 10 rebounds in a win over defending CIF Division II state champ Lynwood and has many more potential eye-opening games in front of her. Drummer may be higher on recruiting lists, but based on her one big matchup against Windward and Kris Simon it wouldn’t be right to put her higher on this tracker.
9. (15) Charise Holloway (St. Mary’s, Stockton) Sr.
With the departure of junior Bri Moore, the senior Holloway (an Arizona recruit) has become the grand old lady on a talented team loaded with freshmen and sophomores. She stepped it up with 26 points and 14 rebounds when the Rams beat Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland last Saturday in a rematch of last year’s CIF NorCal Open Division final. She also had 27 points and nine rebounds in a recent romp past Edison of Stockton. “Charise is playing the best ball of her career right now,” head coach Tom Gonsalves told the St. Mary’s athletics web site. “We’ve got two seniors, and the nine others are freshmen and sophomores. We’re counting on her and she keeps coming through.”
10. (8) Arica Carter (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) Sr.
Despite the addition of center Lajahna Drummer, it’s still obvious to us that Carter remains one of the state’s very best point guards. The Louisville-bound talent has seen her numbers drop in recent weeks, but she did have 23 points and 10 steals in one win over Millikan of Long Beach. Carter drops to make room for her teammate, Simon and Holloway, but hangs on at No. 10. She will be a key player for the Jackrabbits as they navigate in the new CIFSS Open Division and has the chance to shine.
Next Five Players:
11. (13) Asha Thomas (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) Jr.; 12. (14) Sabrina Ionescu (Miramonte, Orinda) Soph.; 13. (17) McKenzie Fort (Etiwanda) Sr.; 14. (12) Imani Littleton (Bishop’s, La Jolla) Sr.; 15. (NR) Chyanne Butler (Serra, Gardena) Sr.
Dropped From Previous Top 10 Tracker:
No. 6 Kelli Hayes (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Sr.; No. 9 Amy Okonkwo (Etiwanda) Sr.; No. 10 Monique Billings (Santiago, Corona) Sr.