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(inspired by this past season, and a brief twitter exchange with @ladyswish) Some names to jot down when you’re pondering your next women’s basketball coach – be it for next year, or in three years. And, as I read some of these bios, it simply reinforces the connection between point guards and coaching.

Katie Abrahamson-Henderson – Albany. She’s only been there for 5 years, and accomplished a ton! Four straight league titles, anyone?

Jody Adams – Wichita State. Coach Adams, now  in her 7th year, has transformed the program. When when she took over in 2008, the Shockers had recorded 11 wins in the previous seaon.  WSU just won their third MVC conference title in a row and, with a team so young, it’s hard not to imagine there’s not more success in their future.

Jennifer Azzi – San Francisco. The revival of the Dons has been well chronicled at the WHB. Don’t know if Azzi would be interested in attempting to “rebuild” another program. I’m sure her current gig has been exhausting. But, a program that’s settle and needs a spark? Maybe.

Cedric Baker  – Savannah State. It’s been a long 12 seasons, but they won their first MEAC title this year.

Courtney Banghart – Princeton. She’s young. She’s smart. She just went undefeated and has earned her program a ton of attention. Who knows if she wants to leave the Ivy, but wow, what potential.

Laura Beeman – Hawai’i – The Wahine was a hot mess. Now, after three year’s of Beeman, not so much.

Bob Boldon – Ohio. First the Penguins. Then the Bobcats. Bob is a builder.

Anthony Bozzella – Seton Hall. Wherever he goes – LIU, Iona, Seton Hall – he turns programs around.

Kenny Brooks – James Madison University. In his 13th year, all he does is coach teams that win. They just earned their fourth CAA title in six years.

Michelle Clark-Heard – Western Kentucky. The ‘toppers just won the C-USA conference title and this year marked the first time WKU has been ranked in 17 years.  Shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that, in her first year Clark-Heard helped WKU to a 13-win improvement over the 2011-12 season output. It was the largest in Sun Belt Conference history, as WKU turned a 9-21 mark into a 22-11 record.

Brittney Ezell  – East Tennessee State University. In only her second year at the program, ETSU was picked for a bottom finish in a conference preseason poll. Instead, the Lady Bucs finished second to UT-Chattanooga and scared the you-know-what out of Mocs in the So-Con tourney.

Tricia Fabrini – Quinnipiac. Since the Bobcats moved up into the Division I ranks, they’ve shown they belonged – be it in the NEC or the MAAC. It’s been a 20 year journey, but maybe she could be tempted by another position?

Donna Finnie – Houston Baptist – It’s way early in her career with HBU, but consider what the Scotland native has already accomplished:

As Donna Finnie begins her second year as head coach in 2014-15, the HBU women’s basketball program looks to soar to new heights after a record-breaking inaugural season in the Southland Conference. In Finnie’s first year at the helm of the program, the team made huge strides both on and off the court. The Huskies won 12 games, the most since HBU began the transition to NCAA Division I in 2007. The Huskies also boasted the highest RPI in program history (251); a significant improvement from the 2012-13 campaign. Offensively the team exploded to produce one of the most efficient scoring attacks in the nation.

On this year, from WHB: The Huskies (15-17) were the 8th seed in the Southland and yet made it to the finals.

Cindy Fisher – San Diego. In her 10 year tenure, Fisher has moved the Toreros into the “often win” column.

Megan Gebbia – American. In only her second year, Gebbia took her team to their first Patriot League Championship.

Kellie Jolly Harper – Missouri State. Seems to me Harper was the sacrificial “next coach” at North Carolina State. She handled a no-win situation with grace, but couldn’t move the program forward. She’s having better fortunes at Missouri State, where she’s revivng the profile of a program that sailed to the stratosphere behind Jackie Stiles.

Yvonne Sanchez – New Mexico. She’s rebuilt a program that fell rather precipitously after coach Flanagan retired. Her first few years were not particularly encouraging, but this year has been different – even after she had to dismiss the team’s captain and center. The Mountain West predicted UNM to finish ninth in the conference, after finishing in ninth place a year ago, but they made it to the conference finals. She has not gotten a contract extension (yet). Folks I spoke to while I was in Albuquerque said the admin wanted more butts in the seats.

Karl Smesko – Florida Gulf Coast. Since joining Division I, all the Eagles have done is terrorize the A-Sun.

Brooke and Scott Stoehr – Northwestern State. Hired in 2012 to revive the Demons’ program that had won just six games the year before, the Stoehrs have done just that. The Demons just won the conference tournament title and earned their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the school’s history.

Jonathan Tsipis – George Washington. – In 2012, Tsipis took over a program that had won 25 wins over three seasons. WHB’s has been tracking the return of the Colonials to the top-25 all season long.

Kevin McMillan – Tennessee Martin – Six years ago, McMillan inheirited a team that went 2-27. Now, the Skyhawks have repeatedly ruled the roost in the OVC.

Amy Williams – South Dakota. Not easy to win in the Summitt, with in-state rival ‘wabbits lurking, but she has.

Ryun Williams – Colorado State. Left South Dakota and, in three years, has turned around a Colorado State program that had a decade of poor results. The #1 seed in the Mountain West was upset in the conference tourney, but I expect they’ll be back.

I’m sure there are plenty of other folks out there, ready to move up, including assistants that I know nothing about…. So, who else would you put on this list? womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com.

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Scores.

Next!

First we have a “Big 6 v mid-major” story: Syracuse at JMU at 7 p.m. ET

Then we’ve got a “feel good story” v a “nobody’s noticed story“: San Diego at Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. ET

In a related story, congrats to NJCAA Champs Trinity Valley College, who won a battle between two undefeated teams.

How is it related? From the Hutchinson (KS) News: Court ceremony hits home for Trinity

The emotions were high for the Trinity Valley, Texas, women Saturday evening, especially for sophomore Keuna Flax and co-coach Kenya Landers.

Minutes before Trinity Valley embarked on its 69-55 win against Hutchinson Community College in the NJCAA national championship game at the Bicentennial Center, the basketball court was dedicated for Kurt Budke, a former Trinity Valley and Oklahoma State coach who was killed in a November plane crash.

More from the Salina Journal: Winning Tribute: Trinity Valley comes through on night Kurt Budke Court in named

Trinity Valley co-head coach Kenya Landers descended from the ladder and handed the scissors to Shelley Budke.

Budke climbed the ladder, snipped the last strand of net that had hung from the basketball goal at the west end of the Bicentennial Center, climbed down, placed the net around Landers and embraced her in a lengthy and emotional hug as they stood on the newly renamed Kurt Budke Court, dedicated to the memory of Shelley’s late husband.

Mission accomplished for Landers and her Trinity Valley women’s basketball team.

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WNIT results.

Third Round Schedule
Tuesday, March 20
Washington at Oregon State, 10 p.m. ET
Thursday, March 22
Appalachian State at Virginia, 7 p.m. ET
Syracuse at Temple, 7 p.m. ET
VCU at Toledo, 7 p.m. ET
San Diego at Texas Tech, 8 p.m. ET
Missouri State at Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. ET
Villanova at Colorado, 9 p.m. ET
Friday, March 23
South Florida at JMU, 7 p.m. ET

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Check out the final results of the first round of the WNIT. BTW, congrats! “San Diego won its first postseason game in history, holding off Cal State Northridge 60-58 to advance to Round 2, where they will host Pacific at 7 p.m. ET Sunday.”

Second Round Picks
Saturday, March 17
Appalachian State at NC State, 5 p.m. ET
Harvard at Temple, 6 p.m. ET
Florida International at South Florida, 7 p.m. ET
Memphis at Missouri State, 8 p.m. ET
Saint Mary�s at Oregon State, 10 p.m. ET

Sunday, March 18
Wake Forest at JMU, 2 p.m. ET
VCU at St. Joseph�s, 2 p.m. ET
Tulane at Texas Tech, 3 p.m. ET
Utah at Washington, 3 p.m. ET
Wichita State at Oklahoma State, 3 p.m. ET
Villanova at Illinois State, 3:05 p.m. ET
Pacific at San Diego, 7 p.m. ET

Monday, March 19
Syracuse at Drexel, 7 p.m. ET
Cincinnati at Toledo, 7 p.m. ET
Richmond at Virginia, 7 p.m. ET
Colorado at South Dakota, 8 p.m. ET

Next, in the better late than never world, check out the other basketball that’s going on:

The NCAA Division II brackets have hit the semis and three of the four #1 seeds are playing: Wayne State v, Bentley and Rollin v. Cinderella Lander, the #4 seed responsible for the missing #1 seed. The teams are playing in San Antonio (lucky devils) on March 21st.

The NCAA Division III brackets finish up on St. Patrick’s Day in Holland, Michigan. George Fox, who stopped the Amherst winning streak at 50, will fact off against  Illinois Wesleyan, who earned a shot at the title by virtue of their 67-53 win over St. Thomas.

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WATN? Dawn Evans

Doin’ reality.

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From the AP’s Hank Kurz: Specter of transplant hasn’t slowed JMU’s Evans

There are times when high-scoring guard Dawn Evans needs more help than usual from her James Madison teammates.

Not because the senior is getting double teamed, but because of her failing kidney.

Take JMU’s game against Northeastern on Dec. 18. As the women’s basketball team prepared to take the floor, Evans gathered her squad.

“She said, ‘Ladies, I need you guys to pull through because my energy level is a little low tonight,”’ roommate and teammate Jalissa Taylor recalled, chuckling as she continued.

I don’t think we really were playing good as a team, but she really had to step up. I think that was the game where she had like 30 or 40 points and she played tremendous.”

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with one kidney tied behind her back. From USA Today’s Erik Brady: JMU’s Dawn Evans gives kidney disease her best shot

Watch Dawn Evans as James Madison’s starters are introduced before tip-off. She primps. She poses. She preens.

“All prissy,” says her coach, Kenny Brooks, “like a little girl.”

Then watch Evans, 21, stride onto the court for a game. She swaggers. She struts. And she scores — more than any other woman in Division I basketball.

“When she walks out on that floor, her persona changes,” Brooks says. “She owns it.”

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