Corona del Mar: 17-10, 4-6 in 1995-96. Coach: Zellie Dow (first year). Prospects: Dow takes over the program for Garth Flint (81-113), who took a sabbatical. Although Jennifer Gardner (14.1 points, 10.8 rebounds) is gone, the cupboard wasn't left bare: Senior guard Lindsay Warmington (5-6) was a top-10 scorer, averaging 17.1 points, 3.9 assists, 34.1% from behind the three-point arc, and 69.5% from the free-throw line. The other returning starter is junior guard Britt Anderson (5-3), and the other returning player is junior forward Kim DeMille (5-10). Corona del Mar doesn't have much height--sophomore Jennifer Dickson (5-11) is the tallest player--but might be able to make up for it with its outside game.
El Toro: 6-19, 2-8 in 1995-96. Coach: Vincent Avitabile (first year). Prospects: Avitabile is essentially starting from scratch--there are no returning starters from last year's team, and among the top returning players, there is only one senior, forward Amanda Brown (5-8). Junior forwards Rachel Wondra (5-9) and Emily Gleason (5-10), sophomore guard Gioconda Mendiola (5-8) and freshman guard Giuliana Mendiola (5-9) are the likely starters.
Irvine: 14-11, 6-4 in 1995-96. Coach: Shawn Patchell (second year, 14-11). Prospects: Irvine posted its most successful finish since joining the league, tying for second place, and has four starters back--guard Myra Hardeman (5-8), center Sonja Dahlman (6-0, seven rebounds), junior center Lauren O'Hara (6-2, 6.2 rebounds) and junior forward Jami Allred (5-10, 9.6 points, six rebounds). Someone must emerge to replace graduated point guard Julie Primero (6.3 assists), though.
Newport Harbor: 16-12, 6-4 in 1995-96. Coach: Bob Dukus (second year, 16-12) Prospects: The likely challenger to Woodbridge for the league title, Newport Harbor has four senior starters back, including forward/center Breanna Badorek (6-0, 10.1 points, eight rebounds), who was second in the county in field-goal percentage (60%). Coupled with center M.E. Clayton (6-0, 11.4 points, 6.4 rebounds), the Sailors have a legitimate inside game. Guards Colleen Eadie (5-8, 7.7 points, 2.2 assists) and Desiree Talley (5-9, 3.9 points) are capable outside shooters.
Santa Margarita: 11-15, 2-8 in 1995-96. Coach: Rich Schaaf (first year). Prospects: Schaaf, the athletic director, is the Eagles' third coach in three years, fourth coach in five, and fifth coach in seven--when it won the Angelus League title. Five starters are back, including forward Carlie Willard (5-10, 7.2 rebounds), and Kate Toman (5-9), a second-team all-league player who could play any position, but the Eagles lack size.
Woodbridge: 32-2, 10-0 in 1995-96. Coach: Pat Quinn (second year, 32-2). Prospects: The Warriors will be an intriguing team to watch. Erin Stovall (20.2 points, 4.0 steals, 62.7% FG), a Street & Smith second-team player who might have been the best returning player in the county, is spending her senior year in Hawaii; she signed to play at Virginia, a top-10 team. Trying to pick up the slack will be forward Krissy Duperron (6-0), whose knee injury kept her out of 21 games. Still, Duperron shot 70% from the field and averaged 12.5 points and 5.8 rebounds. Along with sophomore forward Cathy Joens (5-10, 7.9 points, 8.3 rebounds) and Carly Moss (5-7, 8.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, three steals), the Warriors should be tough defensively. But the loss of Stovall and Melanie Pearson (16.1 points, 9.4 rebounds), starting at UCLA, represent a considerable blow to the offense.