April 14, 2009
The post-season honors keep pouring in for UCLA head coach Nikki Caldwell's first recruiting class of Mariah Williams and Markel Walker. Both players signed with the Bruins in November of 2008 and have recently completed highly successful prep seasons.
Williams, a 5-4 point guard from Aurora, CO Regis Jesuit High School, helped lead her team to a 24-4 record and its first-ever state title. She scored seven points in the championship contest and 15 in the semi-final win. On the year, she averaged 11.8 points, 6.4 assists and 3.2 steals. It was the fifth straight final four appearance for the Raiders and their third trip to the state final. Williams was named to the first-team All-State and first-team All-Class 5A squads by the Denver Post.
Walker, a 6-1 guard-forward from Pittsburgh, PA Schenley High School, led her team to a second-place finish in the City League and a 21-5 overall record. She averaged 25.6 points per game, the highest total in the Pittsburgh area, while also leading her team in rebounds (14.8) and assists (6.1).
Walker was named the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Girls Basketball Player of the Year. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette included her on its Girls "Fabulous 5" high school team. In addition, the Associated Press sports writers selected her to the first-team Class AAAA All-State squad.
In her final game for her high school, Walker scored 27 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and handed out eight assists in a first round loss in the state playoffs. The Pittsburgh native went on to play in the McDonald's All-America game in Miami, Fl where she started and totaled four points, six rebounds, two steals and a block in 15 minutes of action. Walker also competed in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association High School All-Star game in St. Louis, MO where she had eight points and 11 rebounds.