Washington Terrace • When Bonneville guard Emilie Volk dons the Lakers' blue and gold, it's often not difficult to identify her as the best player on the floor.
It's in the way she moves without the ball, her ability to read and react to defenders and how she always seems to be one step ahead of everyone else.
"It's amazing how many opposing coaches come up and say how much fun she is just to watch her move," Bonneville coach Mike Russell said. "The way she carries herself and moves on the court, she understands where she needs to be and understands the game. You can't coach what she has as far as basketball IQ goes."
If one needed further proof of Volk's ability, a glance at the stat sheet also would suffice. The senior is leading the Lakers with 15.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, three steals and nearly three assists per game entering this week.
To become such a versatile player, capable of affecting the outcome of a game in myriad ways, Volk has had to learn to go against her instincts. Last year, her first with the Lakers after transferring from Christian Heritage, Volk too often passed on open shots to get her teammates touches. This year, however, she's developed a killer instinct.
"It's kind of hard because I don't want to be selfish or kind of a ball hog or anything," Volk said, "but I have to take the initiative if our team's struggling or just to get the game rolling."
More often than not for the Lakers this season, Volk's aggressiveness has gotten the Lakers rolling, rather than revived them from a lull. Of the Lakers' seven wins, only two have been close. They've used a balanced lineup to get up early in most of their games.
Russell said the Lakers are farther along at this point of the season than any team he's coached during his six-year tenure, and even though the season is young, he believes his team has a deep postseason run in it.
Volk sees similar potential for the Lakers, but she says it only can be fulfilled if the team continues to work hard toward its goal.
"It's great to have that success, but we can't get satisfied," Volk said. "We can't get complacent. That's always in the back of my head, and I take it to heart."
The source for the Lakers' confidence is simple a deep lineup that doesn't rely only on Volk. If defenders are keying on Volk or she's having an off-night, the Lakers have other options, including Kayla Eilertson and Cortney Porter, who both are averaging double figures in points.
"We can rely on the rest of the team," Volk said. "It's not like we're going to go downhill after that, so it's really key that we have that all-around success.
"We're like sisters, all of us. We get along off the court just great, and that helps immensely. We work off each other well and know how each other plays."