In 2013, the Chaminade Girls basketball team was close to perfect. They ended the season 29-4 overall and 10-0 in league play. They were also California Division II state champions and were ranked the No. 6 team in the nation.
Since last year, the Eagles have lost key seniors Devin Stanback and Kaylie and Christa Fandino, but they have the pieces to make up for the graduated players. Paige Fescke, Melissa Wright, and Isabel Newman were go to options off the bench last season for Coach Kelli DiMuro, and are ready to take on bigger roles coming this upcoming season. And then there is Neah Odom and Valerie Higgins.
Odom is the No. 7 recruit in the ESPNW ‘Super 60’ rankings, and Higgins is the No. 20 recruit. Higgins has been a star at Chaminade since her first day on campus. She was an instant contributor, helping the Eagles to a CIF championship her freshman year and a state championship as a sophomore. Now in her third year on varsity, and with former starting center Stanback now at Pepperdine, Higgins has to be the leader of this team. Lucky for her, having the help of a fellow superstar in Odom makes things even better for the Eagles.
Odom was the biggest surprise for Chaminade this season. She started out at Los Alamitos High and had a fantastic freshman campaign before transferring to basketball powerhouse Mater Dei. Her future at Mater Dei looked bright, playing alongside top ESPNW recruit Katie Lou Samuelson. However, her dad’s work forced the family to move to the valley, thus making Odom leave Mater Dei. That’s when Chaminade came into the picture. In early September, Odom chose to bring her high-flying basketball talent to Chaminade. At 6-1, she can play pretty much anywhere on the floor. She can grab boards, score in the post and can run the offense with the ball in her hands—very similar to how Higgins plays.
Odom’s claim to fame is her unbelievable jumping ability. Odom has yet to dunk in a game, but everyone knows she can.
“She can dunk,” Chaminade boys basketball player Nick Henzgen said. ”I’ve never seen her do it, but I’ve watched the team in practice and she can get both hands over the rim with ease.”
Coach DiMuro told ESPNW’s Walter Villa, “[w]e are going to make it happen for her” and the Chaminade fans sure hope so. The famous Chaminade student section “The Cage” would go insane if they saw Odom dunk during a game.
To sum it all up, this is going to be a huge season for the Eagles. Rarely do teams get a chance to have two top-25 recruits in the same class, and it has potential to lead for huge wins for Chaminade. Higgins and Odom make the Eagles contenders for the Open Division Championship. Now is the time to clear up your weeknight schedules and come out to West Hills to see the Odom and Higgins show.
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