Coach Julie Hanks excited about incoming basketball recruits

The 2018-19 Irvine Valley women's basketball team finished with a record of 23-6 overall, won its second straight Orange Empire Conference title and reached the Southern California Regional Playoff finals.

The Lasers have a mark of 49-11 over the last two seasons and look to be setting up a strong squad again for the 2019-20 campaign.

Coach Julie Hanks, who will be entering her 22nd season, is already excited about the th team's chances.

She will return first team all-conference wing player Anai Washington and second team all-conference post player Zoe Stachowski along with the likes of guards Kelli Murakami-Hanashiro and Emma Vasquez and forward Renny Cribbin.

Among the top recruits coming in for Irvine Valley are point guard Katie Nguyen from Marina High, guard Sam Uehara from Corona del Mar High, post player Helen Reynolds from Ocean View High, forward Kaitlyn Luu from Irvine High and guard Morgan from the Tilton School in New Hampshire.

Nguyen, Uehara, Reynolds and Luu all played for the South squad in the 54th North-South Orange County All-Star game in May.

Nguyen, Uehara and Reynolds were all part of the Daily Pilot Girls' Basketball Dream Team this past season.

She averaged 14 points to go with 8.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.7 steals per game in the 2018-19 season. She tied a school record with seven three-pointers to lead the Vikings to a win over Corona del Mar in January and finish 6-0 in league. Nguyen ended with 27 points in the contest.

Nguyen helped Marina, which had gone 4-22 during the 2017-18 season, have a season for the books this past year.

As the floor leader, she guided the Vikings (19-10, 6-0 in league) to the Wave League championship, the first for the program since the 2005-06 season.

Nguyen, a four-year varsity player, also earned the Wave League MVP award.

Higgins is another guard and ball handler for the Lasers. She averaged double-digit in points in her junior and senior years and has helped to Lake Region Championship titles as well as going deep in the NEPSAC Championships.