Basketball season at USAO may have wrapped up, but the coaches are busy gathering more young talent to bring to the university.

“I think they’re very basketball savvy. They’ve all been in the game a long time,” Women’s Basketball Coach Laci Tompkins said of her new signees. “That’s hard to teach.”

Tompkins has four athletes who have committed to playing for the Drovers next season.

“I really like the look of our team,” she said. “We’re still talking to a few post players, and we’d like even another point guard or two.”

Tompkins said the new players are both game and academically minded.

“They are the kind that match what the school is looking for,” she said.

Paige Pulliam
Pulliam is a coach’s daughter from Newcastle High School. Her father, Wes Pulliam, is the boy’s basketball coach at NHS.

“My strong suit is just how well I know the game,” the 5-foot-7 point guard said. “I grew up around the game.”

Pulliam is a valedictorian this year and said she chose USAO because of its location and science programs.

“I chose USAO because I’m majoring in physical therapy,” she said. “I feel in love with the area and how close it was to my home.”

She averages 19 points per game at Newcastle and recently had a career-high 28 points.

“I just think she’s a winner in life and on the floor. I’m just really excited,” Tompkins said. “I think she’s a great leader and I’m thrilled to have her.”

Victoria Russell
Russell, a Hobart girl, average double doubles playing for Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa.

In looking for a change, the 6-foot-2 post chose USAO for the home feel it gave her.

“I really liked the coach, for one,” she said. “I felt like I can help the team a lot by being a post player. I just got a good home feeling with it.”

Russell is a junior majoring in elementary education.

“I just want to win with my team,” she said. “I’m excited to play with this team next year.”

Kristen Galles
Galles is one of Plainview’s strongest players and is excited to join the USAO family.

“I came up and toured the campus around October, and I really liked the campus,” she said. “And I had an instant chemistry with Coach Tompkins.”

She averaged 10.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game when she played guard as a junior. She has since moved inside to point forward.

“I’d like to build up the program and do everything I can to make it a success,” she said of USAO. “I want to step in a give my best and see what happens.”

The 5-foot-9 forward may prove to be a great asset for USAO, as she has experience playing in a number of positions on the court from high school.

Galles plans to major in pre-medicine and hopes to be a physician’s assistant.

Phaliesha Kodaseet
After trying out two other colleges, Kodaseet has settled on a winner: USAO.

Kodaseet helped Anadarko High School to a state championship in 2005 and was named All-State in 2006, before heading to Seminole State College and then Western Colorado State College.

The senior forward said she is excited to have her family at the Drover games.

“(I chose USAO) because it was closer to home and my family will be able to watch me play,” she said.

Kodaseet is currently majoring in physical education.