Nov. 12, 2003
BERKELEY, Calif. - California has signed three talented players from different states to letters of intent to play basketball beginning with the 2004-05 season, head coach Caren Horstmeyer announced today. The newest additions to the Cal family are Jessica Lawson from Edgewood, Fla., Krista Foster from Fair Oaks, Calif., and Kelly O'Connell from Lakewood, Colo.
"Overall, this is the most nationally regarded class we've signed since I've been at Cal," said Horstmeyer, who hopes to announce a fourth signee later in the week. "All three athletes are impact players. We've added scoring punch on the blocks and from the outside, rebounding and a talented playmaker."
Lawson, a 6-3 center from Jones High School, was named the Orlando Sentinel's Central Florida Player of the Year as a junior after averaging 16.2 points and 12.7 rebounds per game and shooting 53 percent from the field. The two-time Street & Smith honorable mention All-American led the Tigers last season to the Class 3A state title game, a 29-3 record and the No. 1 ranking in the Sentinel Super 6. In the state semifinals, Lawson pounded in 29 points and 19 rebounds. She is ranked No. 118 nationally by All-Star Girls Report.
"Jessica is an extremely athletic post player," said Horstmeyer. "She is a versatile and dominant block player who can score in the high post or stay down low. She'll bring the kind of rebounding to the post that we haven't seen since Ami Forney (1999-02)."
As a junior at Del Campo High School, Foster was selected the Capital Athletic League MVP after averaging 24.3 points per game and recording 24 double-doubles. The 6-1 forward posted career-highs of 40 points and 24 rebounds against Nevada Union last season. Her junior year honors included being selected first team all-city by the Sacramento Bee and to Cal-Hi Sports second team all-state squad.
"Krista verbally committed to us very early in the process, indicating her confidence in the growth and direction of Cal basketball," said Horstmeyer. "Krista plays hard for 40 minutes on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. She's a great defender. Her competitiveness and drive separate her from other power forwards."
O'Connell, a 5-5 point guard, is one of the leaders for Mullen High School, which saw a three-year state championship run end in the semifinals in 2002-03. O'Connell averaged 11.8 points during the regular season, then capped the year with 20 points in a semifinals loss. As a junior, she was selected to the Denver Post all-tournament team and earned second team all-state recognition.
"Kelly brings determination, heart and a winning mentality to our program," said Horstmeyer. "Even though Kelly is a smaller guard, she has the ability to get it done. She also is a good three-point shooter."