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Friday, March 2, 2012
Eye on POY: Washington girls basketball

By Ben Rohrbach

The window on the Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Eye on POY, Katie Collier, Seattle Christian, girls, Washington
Katie Collier earned McDonald's All-American status despite battling a rare form of leukemia this season.
Katie Collier
Senior post, Seattle Christian
(Covington, Wash.)

2011-12 Team record: 16-10
(Class 1A)
2011-12 Team standing: lost Class 1A regional final to Onalaska (Lewis, Wash.), 43-25

2011-12 Points per game: 16.5
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 11.5
2011-12 Assists per game: 3.2
2011-12 Blocks per game: 3.4
2011-12 Steals per game: 2.2

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: University of Washington

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Concluded her prep career with 17 points, four rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes during a 43-25 loss to Onalaska in the Class 1A regional finals. Averaged 25.7 points, 17.9 rebounds, 5.3 blocks, 5.0 assists and 3.4 steals per 32 minutes. Battling a rare form of leukemia, missed eight of her team’s 26 games and averaged just 20.5 minutes per contest -- often playing through the effects of her chemotherapy treatments. No. 21 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. 2012 McDonald’s All-American. 2012 First Team All-Area selection as named by The Seattle Times. 2011 and 2012 Nisqually League Most Valuable Player. 2009 Class 1A state champion.

Brittany McPhee
Sophomore wing, Mount Rainier (Des Moines, Wash.)

2011-12 Team record: 26-1 (Class 4A)
2011-12 Team standing: Class 4A state semifinal vs. Central Valley (Spokane Valley, Wash.) on Friday

2011-12 Points per game: 23.9
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 11.8
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.7
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.5
2011-12 Steals per game: 3.2

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Amassed 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in a 58-35 blowout of Bethel (Elk Plain, Wash.) in the Class 4A regional finals, and then dropped 22 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in a 57-39 win over Jackson (Mill Creek, Wash.) in the state quarterfinals. Shooting 53 percent from the field, 36 percent from 3-point range and 77 percent from the free throw line. No. 18 ranked wing in Class of 2014 as rated by ESPNHS. 2011 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team trials roster. 2012 First Team All-Area selection as named by The Seattle Times. 2011 and 2012 South Puget Sound League North Most Valuable Player.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Taylor Buie: Senior point guard, Emerald Ridge (Puyallup, Wash.)
Heather Corral: Senior wing, Prairie (Vancouver, Wash.)
Ali Forde: Senior center, Woodinville (Wash.)
Khadidja Toure: Senior point guard, Kamiakin (Kennewick, Wash.)
Jamie Weisner: Senior guard, Clarkston (Wash.)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.