Chrissy Baird, Wheaton North
The 6-foot-1 senior forward capped off a tremendous four years on varsity by becoming the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder after averaging 15.1 points and 9.7 rebounds a game this year for the DuPage Valley Conference runners-up. The three-time unanimous all-DuPage Valley Conference performer is a Miss Illinois Basketball finalist this year and will play her college ball at UCLA. "She's arguably one of the best kids to wear a Wheaton North uniform in 46 years of basketball," said Falcons coach Dave Eaton who admires Baird the person as much as Baird the player. "That's something special, and she's put in a ton of work and time for it."
Tomei Ball, Glenbard South
"Tomei had an amazing year, she was our workhorse, often never coming out of the game," Raiders coach Julie Fonda said of her senior forward. "She has an amazing basketball IQ and works very hard at the game! She is going to be tough to replace next year and I am super-excited to watch her continue her career at the next level." The three-year varsity starter averaged 13.7 points and 6.1 rebounds a game this season, was named the conference MVP and will attend St. Xavier University and play basketball next year.
Sarah Costello, Downers Grove North
The senior guard, a two-time all-conference player, topped the 1,000-point mark after averaging 13.3 points this season. The all-around stalwart also averaged 5.1 assists, 9.6 rebounds and 3.6 steals while also making 44 3-pointers. "Sarah has the ability to take over a basketball game in a variety of ways," Trojans coach Stephan Bolt said. "She is the definition of hard work for our younger players and a true leader on the floor who would sacrifice anything to help our team win."
Kathleen Doyle, Benet
The sophomore point guard already is drawing Division I interest after averaging 10.5 points and 4 rebounds a game, along with leading the Redwings in assists, blocks, steals and offensive rebounds. "She is by far the best point guard that I had the opportunity to coach. I was just thrilled for a sophomore to be able to do that many things on the floor," said Benet coach Peter Paul, who is retiring after three decades. She often guarded the opposition's best perimeter player but also came up big on the other end, including 18 points in a win over highly ranked Oregon Davis, Ind., at the McDonald's Classic, and 17 points in the regional championship defeat of Naperville North.
Emily Eshoo, Benet
This junior combo guard has received multiple Division I offers and averaged 14.5 points and 3 rebounds a game while joining teammate Doyle with all-East Suburban Catolic Conference honors. "Emily really stepped up her intensity on defense this year and she is such an outstanding shooter," coach Peter Paul said. Shot 36 percent while connecting on 54 3-pointers, but her ability to attack the basket sent her to the line a team-high 133 times and she made good on 79 percent of her attempts. Topped 20 points eight times, including 29 in a win over Hinsdale Central.
Melinda Franke, Wheaton Warrenville South
The senior forward graduates as the best rebounder in school history. Her 344 rebounds this season broke a 30-year-old school record, while she also holds the school record for most offensive rebounds in a season. Had a season-high 19 rebounds in the Tigers win over Montini, and her 52 percent shooting was second on the team this season. Coach Rob Kroehnke says, "Melinda is the best rebounder I have ever seen." Melinda is an excellent student as well, taking courses in AP Physics, AP Calculus and AP Spanish. She hopes play Division III basketball next year and major in education and physics.
Jaida Green, Downers Grove North
The sophomore guard led the regional champs in scoring with 15.9 points a game, while dishing out 103 assists, pulling down 126 rebounds and coming away with 58 steals. "She has a great attitude and is constantly challenging herself to get better on both ends of the floor," Trojans coach Stephan Bolt said. "Jaida has only started to scratch the surface in regards to the player she can become." The sharpshooter made 41 percent of her field-goal attempts and knocked down 54 3-pointers.
Emari Jones, Wheaton North
A unanimous all-conference selection, the junior guard/forward averaged 11.3 points and 7.2 rebounds a game in a breakout season in which she took over at point guard. "She's just a great athlete and we wanted to get the ball in her hands," coach Dave Eaton said. "She's a great teammate and her ability to share the ball and see the floor allowed us to have the success that we did. She was our second leading rebounder … that shows how hard she plays. She'd be at the top of the key and then to come all the way done and be rebounding."
Kelly Karlis, Montini
The 6-foot-2 senior guard's solid all-around play featured averages of 10.1 points, 4.1 blocks, 3.9 assists and 5.2 rebounds a game. After just four 3-pointers as a junior, she has 44 so far this year after a pair in the Broncos' Class 3A supersectional win. "She's really worked hard on her perimeter game, which has made her a more valuable player to our team this year," coach Jason Nichols says of the two-time all-conference performer who will play at Ohio University. "She has an all-around game, plus she changed games the way she defended with her length. On the top of our 2-3 zone, she gave us the tips, the deflections and the blocked shots."
Molly Krawczykowski, Willowbrook
The 5-foot-9 senior guard led the Warriors to their first undefeated West Suburban Gold record in school history and a 23-5 overall mark. The three-year varsity starter and two-time all-conference performer recorded 15 points a game, 4.5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals a game. "Molly has the ability to impact the game with both her defense and offense. Her size and length allowed her to be a lockdown defender on the perimeter," coach Terry Harrell said. "Her quickness made her difficult to guard going to basket and help her get the midrange jump shot that she it 48 percent of the time." Molly will run track at Illinois State next year.
Niki Lazar, Neuqua Valley
The senior guard led the Wildcats to Upstate Eight Conference, regional and sectional crowns this year and capped off her four-year varsity tenure with conference player of the year honors. Averaged 12.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists a game, while shooting almost 70 percent from the free-throw line and 40 percent from beyond the arc. "Niki is definitely one of those kids you want on your side," Neuqua Valley coach Mike Williams said. "Off the court, she's sweet and kind and passionate, but on the court she's one of toughest kids I've sever seen."
Rory Manion, IC Catholic
The 5-foot-11 senior served as team captain for the fourth-place finishers in Class 2A this year, averaging 9.4 points and 9.4 rebounds a game while being named the SCC Gold Player of the Year. "Rory's play on the basketball court is fierce," ICCP coach Aubree Schuett said. "She has developed fundamentally throughout her career into a dominant post player in our conference. I can't say enough about her character, her ability to motivate her teammates and her natural leadership qualities. I am so proud of what she has accomplished during her high school career."
Sara Ross, Montini
The 5-foot-11 forward capped a four-year varsity tenure by averaging 7.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.8 steals a game. The two-time all-conference selection has helped the Broncos total 136 wins heading into the Class 3A state finals, including a 67-4 mark over the last two years. "She has been so reliable. She's always there," said Montini coach Jason Nichols, who noted Ross has played in 145 of the team's 146 games since 2009-2010. "She doesn't miss games. She's been very valuable to our success. Not necessarily in a statistical way but in her presence in every game." The softball standout will play basketball at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis.
Gabrielle Rush, Hinsdale Central
The 5-foot-9 guard has already accomplished so much and has one more season left to go. After averaging 20.8 points this season she surpassed both the 1,000- and 1,500-point plateaus. "I have been fortunate to have coached eight all-state players in my coaching career and Gabrielle is the best one of all," Red Devils coach Tom McKenna said. "She is a great competitor who is always working hard to improve her game." The three-time team MVP and three-time all-conference honoree also had 94 assists, 99 steals, 167 rebounds, 58 3-pointers and was 149 for 181 from the free-throw line.
Shannon Ryan, Naperville Central
A 3-year varsity starter, the quick 5-foot-8 guard averaged 13.6 points with 64 3-pointers on her way to unanimous all-DuPage Valley Conference honors. Also one of the Redhawks' top rebounders and defenders, she helped them go 7-4 down the stretch. "We won three games in the last five seconds this year where she had the ball in her hands," coach Andy Nussbaum said. "Both games against Naperville North she got the winning basket with less than five seconds to go, then against West Aurora she went coast to coast and passed the ball to (Haley) Minick for a wide-open layup to win that game." The senior is leaning toward playing at Benedictine University.
Kayla Sharples, Naperville North
One of the area's top scorers at 19.2 points a game, the 5-foot-11 junior also excelled on defense for the Huskies on her way to unanimous all-DVC honors. "She is just a great athlete, but more importantly she's coachable and listens to what we want as a coaching staff and that really helps our program," Naperville North coach Jason Dycus says of Sharples, who is also a soccer star for the Huskies. A standout on both ends of the floor, she averaged 7 rebounds a game and typically guarded the other team's best player.
Najee Smith, Neuqua Valley
The versatile 6-foot senior played everywhere and did a little of everything for the Upstate Eight Valley Division champs, who went on to claim Class 4A regional and sectional crowns. A four-year varsity performer, she averaged 11 points, 5 rebounds and 1.5 assists a game. "She's our most versatile player without a question. She's pretty much done everything that we've asked of her, and she has the ability to be that type of player which allows us some flexibility and really makes it hard on other teams trying to match up with us," Neuqua Valley coach Mike Williams said of the two-time all-conference selection.
Kateri Stone, Montini
Stone led the Broncos in scoring with 12.7 points a game and rebounding with 6.7 on her way to leading the AP's Class 3A all-state team in votes. The 6-foot-1 senior heads downstate as the school's all-time 3-pointer leader with 272 and her 93 so far this season is a single-season record. "She's a dynamic 3-point shooter but she's also developed into a kid who can get to the basket, which is nice," said coach Jason Nichols. The three-time all-conference honoree was the conference player of the year this year and will continue playing at Colgate.
Jenny Voytell, Metea Valley
The 5-foot-10 senior guard led the Mustangs in scoring with 15.5 points a game, free-throw shooting at 86 percent, 3-point shooting percentage, blocks and steals, and she scored a personal-high 30 points versus South Elgin. "Jenny plays the entire game every time she steps on the court. Not only does she shoulder most of the scoring responsibility, but she is asked to defend the toughest player from the other team," Metea Valley coach Kris Kalivas said. The all-UEC player was named to the Benet/Naperville Central and Oswego East all-tournament teams.
Meghan Waldron, WW South
After four all-DuPage Valley Conference honors and three straight Daily Herald All-Area Captain honors, the 5-foot-11 senior, who become the Tigers' all-time leader scorer and rebounder this year, was named to the AP's Class 4A all-state team. "There's some kids out there that can put up some big numbers scoring-wise, but I think she's probably the best rebounding point guard in the state," Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke said of Waldron, who averaged 21.4 points and 8.8 rebounds this year.