Ex-Mustangs shone in college basketball

Cole concludes fine career at WVU

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

Chakhia Cole’s basketball career at West Virginia mirrored her brilliant high school career in many ways.

At Marlboro High School, she was the leader of the senor class of 2004, which was the school’s most successful year ever. With Cole punishing teams in the paint with her strength and quickness, theMustangs won 101 games in her four years. They won three NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV titles and in 2003 were the Group IV state champions. That team is still the only team, boys or girls, in Freehold Regional District history, to play in the Tournament of Champions much less advance to the state championship final where they were defeated by Shabazz.

InMorgantown, Cole was amember of a Mountaineer class that was the school’s most successful.

“I’m very proud of them,” said Mountaineer head coach Mike Carey of his seniors. “They have done more for the West Virginia University basketball program than any set of seniors in the history of the program. They’ve had a great career.”

This year’s team was 25-8 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year. That was in large part due to Cole’s game-winning foul line jumper against New Mexico in the first round that gave West Virginia a 61-60 victory on the road.

“Chakhia popped out and she was going to try and penetrate and bobbled the ball, and then the girl didn’t come out on her,” said Carey. “When she has her feet set, she is a pretty good shooter.”

Cole scored 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as theMountaineers advanced to a second-round game with Vanderbilt in Albuquerque, N.M. The Commodores ended the WVU season and the careers of its seven seniors with a 64-46 victory.

West Virginia finished the season ranked No. 20 in the country. The Mountaineer were third in the Big East and the 25 wins were secondmost in school history.

Cole, who was a four-year starter, finished her career as the school’s all-time leader in games played, games started and consecutive games started (130). She scored 1,316 points (16th best all time) and pulled down 865 rebounds (fifth all time).

This year, Cole averaged 10.5 points and 5.9 assists a game for WVU and was second on the team in assists (117).

Along with two of her senior classmates, Meg Bulger and LaQuita Owens, Cole was invited last week to attend WNBA Camps where she would have the opportunity to earn a WNBA roster position.

Sharnee Zoll, point guard on Marlboro’s 2003 Group IV state championship team, alsowent on to a distinguished college career at theUniversity ofVirginia. Zoll spent three years at Marlboro before transferring to Highland Regional her senior year.

At Virginia, Zoll established a new Atlantic Coast Conference record for career assists, 785. She ranked fifth all time in school history in steals (235). She averaged 8.5 points a game and a team-high 8.9 assists. She scored 1,169 points for her career. Zoll was a three-timeAll-ACC pick.

Virginiawent 24-10 in 2008 advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Cavaliers were third in theACC.

Zoll’s postcollegiate career promises to be exciting. The Los Angeles Sparks selected her in the third round of the WNBA draft. She was the 29th player taken in the draft.

The WNBA season begins on May 17.

Brina Pollack, shooting guard on that ’03 Marlboro state championship team, is starting for Georgetown University. Because of a red-shirt season (she transferred from Purdue), Pollack is a junior and still has one year of collegiate eligibility.

This past year, she played in all 29 of the Hoyas games and averaged 6.1 points a game. Georgetown was 15-14.

Pollack graduated from Marlboro and was a big part of the class of 2004, which took the Mustangs where the program had never been before.