Thursday, June 30, 2011

Radford's Ngongba to lead Virgin Islands team

Radford coach and Virgin Islands native Tajama Abraham Ngongba will return home this summer to coach the Virgin Islands senior team as it prepares for the CBC Senior Women's Championships Aug. 3-7 in Nassau. Ngongba will preside over a two-week tryout camp beginning July 15 before leading her team into battle against St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the host Bahamas.

"I am just very honored," Ngongba told the Virgin Islands Daily News.  "Because I take a lot of pride in being Crucian and it's just an amazing feeling and opportunity to represent the country in the sport I love."

The assignment should have re-united Ngongba with her own Victoria Hamilton, a rising senior at Radford who started 23 games last season. Last summer, Hamilton helped the Virgin Islands team to one of its best finishes in years. But the newspaper reported that Hamilton is rehabbing a knee injury and will likely sit out this summer's action.

Ex-Hokies coach Dunkenberger gets a new job

A former director of operations replaced Beth Dunkenberger at Virginia Tech. Now Dunkenberger has become a director of operations herself to Tulane coach Lisa Stockton.

Dunkenberger, who resigned at the end of the season after seven seasons coaching the Hokies, seems well overqualified for the job with the Green Wave, which will include coordinating film exchange, overseeing student management staff, serving as the liaison to the equipment operations staff and managing the team's travel on road trips.

She will also help coordinate the team's special projects with the Tulane campus and New Orleans community.

Current Hokies coach Dennis Wolff spent last year as director of operations for the Virginia Tech men's team.

Dunkenberger landing a new job means that Tech's entire full-time coaching staff from last season will be back in action in 2011-12. Assistant Shellie Greenman is now at Tennessee Tech, Stacy Cantley at Wisconsin and Angela Crosby at Charlotte, while Tech's former director of operations Jill Jameson has accepted that same job at Wisconsin.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Former ODU assistant lands on her feet at American

We're happy to see that Belle Koclanes has landed at American University as an assistant to coach Matt Corkery. The Richmond graduate was an assistant to ODU's Wendy Larry for the last three years.

"Mentor, teacher and motivator are three words I would used to describe Belle Koclanes," Corkery said. "Her passion to teach young people the game and to pass along her experiences as a professional and collegiate player is what sets Coach Belle apart.  She has a strong track record of building positive relationships with players, recruits, parents and fans alike.  Her international experience is also extremely valuable.  As our recruiting coordinator, she will be our point person for finding the next generation of Eagles that take our program to new heights."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Adrienne Goodson returns to ODU as assistant

ODU Hall of Famer and ex-WNBA all-star Adrienne Goodson will return to the Lady Monarchs as an assistant, the school announced Saturday. Goodson joins Amaka "Mox" Agugua, who was hired last Monday, on Karen Barefoot's new staff. It will be Goodson's second stint as an ODU assistant as she also served on Wendy Larry's staff in 2004-05.

"I am ecstatic to welcome Adrienne Goodson back to the Lady Monarch program," said Lady Monarchs coach Karen Barefoot said. "She brings dedication, experience, a tremendous work ethic, but most importantly a passion for ODU. Her experience and depth of knowledge on the national level as a professional athlete, coach, trainer, and player at ODU is incredibly impressive. She is a perfect match for our staff as knows what it takes to become a winner."

The school's release also includes the following testimonials:

"Adrienne is one of the greatest Lady Monarchs to put on the uniform and will be a great addition to Karen's staff."
- Anne Donovan, Head Coach Seton Hall, Former Lady Monarch (1979-83) 

"Adrienne was player that had tremendous passion for the game. I loved her intensity and heart. I know she will coach with that same determination and attitude."
-Ticha Penicheiro, WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, former Lady Monarch (1994-98)

"To have a member of the alumni come back and coach means a lot to Old Dominion. She's a familiar face that many can connect with. She understands the game and knows what it takes to win."
-Pam Huntley, Former Lady Monarch (1990-93) 

"Adrienne always pushed us in workouts and was a constant source of motivation. Players look up to those coaches who have that professional experience and she's done that having played in the WNBA. She's talked the talk and walked the walk."
-Megan Pym, Former Lady Monarch (2004-08)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cunningham gets the call from the Hall

We figure Friday's Hall of Fame induction is the first of many for VCU coach Beth Cunningham.

Cunningham will be inducted into the Monroe Country Sports Hall of Fame in her hometown of Bloomington, Ind. The former Notre Dame star, whose 148 career wins are the most of any coach at VCU, is part of an inaugural class of 15 inductees, including seven Olympians.

"When you think of all the quality athletes and coaches who have come through Monroe County, it's quite an honor that someone thinks highly enough of me to include me in the inaugural class," Cunningham said. "Playing sports was such a big part of my life and had so much influence on me when I was growing up. When something like this happens, years later, and you realize that maybe somewhere along the line you've done something to cause those people to remember you, it's just a very, very nice feeling."
Beth Morgan
Cunningham is a legend of sorts in her hometown having finished her high school basketball career at Bloomington South as the school's all-time leading scorer while garnering all-state honors in both basketball and tennis. She holds the career scoring record at Notre Dame (2,322 points) and was part of three NCAA Tournament teams, including 1997 (her Irish team lost to Tennessee in the national semifinals; the Lady Vols went on to beat ODU. Lady Monarch fans should remember the kid with all that hair, who was Beth Morgan then.)

Cunningham was instrumental in the Irish's rise to their current status as one of the nation's elite programs. She averaged better than 18 points per game during her four seasons, earned four All-America honors, and still holds the school's career scoring record (2,322 points). Cunningham was part of three NCAA Tournament squads including the program's first-ever Final Four in 1997.

Merritt Hempe no longer Virginia-bound?

Stafford star Merritt Hempe, a class of 2012 forward who verbally committed to Virginia last fall, is telling her followers on Twitter that she is now headed to Georgia. As sources go, tweets hardly classify as take-it-to-the-bank solid. Still, we can't say we'd be stunned by such a development. We'd been hearing that Hempe's Virginia commitment was no longer firm so we suspect Cavs coach Joanne Boyle and her staff have known this score for quite a while, too. Last September, Hempe's father, Dave, cited the different personalities of Virginia's coaching staff and Debbie Ryan's "no-nonsense approach" as key factors in his daughter's decision to opt for the Cavaliers. Obviously, those factors are no longer in play. And Georgia was one of Hempe's original finalists.

UPDATE (June 29) - Hempe confirmed her verbal commitment with Georgia to ESPN.

"Originally I had committed to coach (Debbie) Ryan and her staff," Hempe said, "when she left I had opened it back up. Coach (Andy) Landers and UGA were in the mix the first time around. I was really excited to hear his plans for me in the future of Georgia basketball."

Hempe becomes the second Virginia recruit to change her mind after the coaching change along with Bria Smith, who actually signed a letter-of-intent with the Cavaliers but was granted a release after Ryan stepped down and has since signed with Louisville.

Virginia's other 2012 recruit under Ryan, guard Raeshaun Gaffney, has apparently re-affirmed her commitment to the Cavaliers after visiting with the new staff.

Losing players in this fashion is one of the potential costs when new staffs come in, but in our view this doesn't really reflect on Boyle and Co.'s recruiting abilities. We're going to evaluate the new staff not by how many of Ryan's recruits she can maintain but on the quality of recruits they lock up themselves. And more importantly, how well these recruits develop once they get there.
Besides, this second-thoughts-after-a-coaching-change business can cut both ways. Green Hope star Kristen Gaffney, who had pledged to Virginia Tech before Beth Dunkenberger stepped down, is now considering Virginia along with six other schools (none of which are Virginia Tech). Gaffney's other choices are Notre Dame, Miami, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Central Florida and Old Dominion.

Old Dominion? Guess Karen Barefoot wasn't kidding when she said she was going to aim high.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ticha and Dawn have our WNBA vote

Dawn Staley
Ticha Penicheiro
Vote, vote, vote for Ticha and Dawn -- on the ballot for most influental players of all time in the WNBA.

ODU's Ticha Penicheiro and Virginia's Dawn Staley are two of the 30 nominees on the WNBA ballot, which will be unveiled July 23 at the all-star game.

Voting for the league’s Top 15 Players of all time will be conducted among fans and select national and WNBA-market media, as well as current players and coaches. Fans are encouraged to vote by logging onto, which will highlight each of the 30 nominees, complete with biographical information and a photo gallery.

In case you don't know, current LA Spark Ticha is the league's all-time assist leader (2,417 and counting), which gives her a lead of 800-plus over Sue Bird, in second place. Penicheiro is also the league's all-time leader in steals with 732 and counting and is a four-time all-star.

Current South Carolina coach Staley, who retired in 2006 after amassing more than 2,000 points, ranks third overall in the league in 3-point percentage and is the only player in WNBA history to have started for both the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference all-star teams.

Fans can cast a vote for their Top 15 Players of all time once per day by going online to starting Thursday at noon ET and ending at midnight on July 14.

The WNBA’s Top 15 Players will be unveiled and honored at the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game, where the San Antonio Silver Stars will host the midseason classic for the first time in franchise history. ABC will nationally broadcast the game on July 23, at 3:30 p.m.

Get your ODU fix (including the new kids) and feast on some Sugar, Sugar at Norfolk summer league

Check out ODU frosh Kaneisha Atwater
Can Division III superstar Chelsie Schweers drop her usual 30 points on Division I foes? Is Georgetown's Sugar Rodgers' jumper as sweet as ever? And just how good is this Parade All-American headed to Old Dominion anyway?

Georgetown's Sugar Rodgers
We may get some answers this weekend when summer league women's basketball returns to the 757.

Rodgers, Schweers and incoming Lady Monarchs Parade All-American Kaneisha Atwater are among the more than 50 players who have signed on to compete in the Hampton Roads 7 Cities Pro-Am women's summer league beginning Saturday at Norfolk's Maury High.

Atwater is part of a large continent of Old Dominion players past (Jessica Canady, Jasmine Parker), present (Jackie Cook, Shakeva Richards) and future (all five incoming recruits) who have committed to the NCAA-certified summer circuit.

NSU's Batavia Owens
Action begins at 4 p.m. when Slam City, a team featuring Cook, Richards, Norfolk State's Batavia Owens and Virginia Wesleyan's Kristen Blalock, takes on a Howell Delegates squad that includes Rodgers, ODU's Tia Lewis and incoming Lady Monarchs Ashley Betz-White and Queen Tiye-Jackson.

A caveat - Player attendance for summer league games can be somewhat fickle, so the fact that someone is listed on a roster doesn't guarantee that player will actually be there at tipoff. But league CEO James Flood, a former assistant coach at Booker T. Washington High, has put together a pretty deep roster of talent. Even a few no-shows shouldn't detract from what promises to be a competitive debut season.

Complete rosters: (Click here for the schedule)


Kymesha Alston - 6-0 forward...Two-time All-Big South performer at Radford (2009 and 2010) after transferring from Manhattan. Former two-time All-Peninsula District first-teamer at Heritage High.

Jessica Canady - 6-0 forward...Two-time All-CAA selection (2009, 2010) at Old Dominion. Led Jamestown High to a Group AA state title and is that school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder.

Tyechia Cooke - 5-7 guard...A former USCAA All-American (2007-08) at the Newport News Apprentice School. Formerly of Heritage High.

Tiffany Davis - 5-9 guard...Averaged 12.6 ppg in five games for Christopher Newport last season after transferring at the end of her first semester at Delaware State. Formerly of Hampton High, where she scored 1,877 and led the Crabbers to a Group AAA state title.

Shadasia Green - 5-9 guard/forward...Versatile four-year performer for Old Dominion (2007-11).

Jasmine Greene - 5-5 guard...Averaged 19.2 ppg and earned ODAC Rookie of the Year honors for her freshman season at Hollins College (2009-10). Formerly of Tabb High.

Andrea Hauser - 5-9 forward...Helped Patrick Henry Community College advance to the 2010 NJCAA Division II national championship game. Formerly of Heritage High.

D'Lesha Lloyd - Information unavailable.

Monique McLean - 5-11 guard...Averaged 17.3 ppg and 6.3 rpg as a senior at St. John's and made second-team All-Big East. Started 80 games in her Red Storm career. Formerly of Bruton High.

Denyse Moore - 5-7 guard...Earned third-team NJCAA honors for the ASA Lady Avengers in 2009-10. Formerly of Woodside High.

Kianna D'Oliveira - 5-10 forward...Started 28 games and averaged 6.2 ppg as a sophomore at Delaware State last season. Formerly of Woodside High.

Chelsie Schweers - Four-time Division III All-American at Christopher Newport who scored 2,869 career points, the second-most in D-III history and the highest total ever by a women's player at a Virginia college. Formerly of Hickory High.


Keiara Avant - 5-11 forward...Averaged 4.4 ppg as a sophomore at Hampton last season. Formerly of Indian River High.

Ashley Betz-White - 5-3 point guard...incoming freshman at Old Dominion.

Sha-Kiyla Finney - 5-7 guard...Averaged 2.0 ppg as a sophomore at Maryland-Eastern Shore. Formerly of Woodrow Wilson High. Sister of former Old Dominion forward Ben Finney and highly touted Virginia Tech incoming freshman Dorian Finney-Smith.

Breshara Gordon - 5-6 guard...Averaged 2.5 ppg as a freshman at Radford. A starter on Lake Taylor High's 2009-10 Group AAA state championship team.

Dashae Jones - 5-6 guard...Second-leading scorer in South Hampton Roads (18.4 ppg) as a senior at Maury High. A second-team All-Tidewater pick by The Virginian-Pilot.

Tia Lewis - 6-3 center/forward...Led Old Dominion with 12.1 ppg and 7.8 rpg as a redshirt junior last season. A third-team All-CAA pick.

Chelisa Painter - 6-1 forward...Appeared in 29 games as a freshman at George Washington...Formerly of Indian River High.

Latisha Pledger - 6-1 forward...Averaged 8.8 ppg and 8.0 rpg as a freshman at Washington College. Formerly of Indian River High.

Sugar Rodgers - 5-11 guard...Two-time All-Big East and All-American (honorable mention). Formerly of King's Fork High.

Queen Tiye-Jackson - 5-11 forward...Incoming freshman at Old Dominion.

Keira Walton
- Data unavailable.


Kaneisha Atwater - 5-7 guard...Incoming freshman at Old Dominion. Named to the 40-player Parade All-America team.

Brittany Campbell - 6-3 center. Appeared in five games during an injury-plagued freshman season at Old Dominion.

LaNia Charity - 5-6 guard...Appeared in nine games after walking onto the team as a freshman at Old Dominion. Formerly of Yorktown High.

Tiffany Church - 5-8 guard/forward...Starred for three seasons at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). A 2006 graduate of Lake Taylor High.

Lamesha Deal - 5-9 guard...Appeared in 22 games as a freshman at North Carolina A&T. Formerly of Maury High.

Shatara Jackson - 5-9 forward...Averaged 9.2 ppg and 2.5 spg as a junior at Elizabeth City State.

Erika McKeithan - 6-1 forward/center...Appeared in 22 games as a junior at Fairleigh Dickinson. Formerly of Heritage High.

Tiffany Minor - 5-11 forward...Incoming freshman at Old Dominion.

Jasmine Parker - 5-6 guard...CAA Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team all-league pick as a senior at Old Dominion. Formerly of Maury High.

Jasmine Walker - 5-10 guard...Appeared in 22 games as a freshman at Elizabeth City State. Formerly of Norcom High.

Renita Walker - 5-8 guard...Appeared in 24 games as a freshman at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). Formerly of Booker T. Washington High.


Roslyn Alexander...5-7 guard...Averaged 8.5 ppg with a team-high 40 3-pointers as a freshman at Lynchburg College.

Kristen Blalock - 6-1 forward...Led Virginia Wesleyan in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, field-goal percentage and 3-point shooting accuracy. A first-team All-ODAC selection and a first-team All-Virginia pick by the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association. Formerly of Portsmouth Christian High.

Jackie Cook - 6-0 guard...Averaged 6.5 points and 3.4 rebounds as a sophomore at Old Dominion.

Myeisha Hall - 5-8 guard...Incoming freshman at Old Dominion.

Andrea Jones - 5-8 guard-forward...A second-team All-Conference Carolinas pick as a sophomore at Mt. Olive College. Formerly of Nansemond River High.

Brooke Ladyman - 5-11 forward/center...Appeared in 3 games as a freshman at Virginia Wesleyan. Formerly of Hickory High.

Taylor Ladyman - 6-0 center. Appeared in 17 games as a freshman at Virginia Wesleyan. Formerly of Hickory High.

Batavia Owens - 6-1 center...Averaged 6.7 ppg and 5.8 rpg as a sophomore at Norfolk State. Formerly of Maury High.

Shakeva Richards - 6-2 forward...Appeared in 30 games as a freshman at Old Dominion.

Jocelyn Spencer - 5-7 guard...Averaged 6.0 ppg and 5.2 rpg as a junior at Virginia Wesleyan. Formerly of Hampton Roads Academy.

Nyeshea Willie - 5-7 guard...Named Freshman of the Year in the Conference Carolinas and a second-team all-league pick (12 ppg, 3.0 spg). Former Beach District Player of the Year (2008-09) at Kempsville High.


Love Brown - 6-3 center...Former first-team All-CIAA performer at Livingstone. Formerly of Granby High.

Shirelle Butts - Information unavailable.

Toia Johnson - 5-5 guard...Led Norfolk State to the 2005 MEAC Tournament final and made the all-tournament team. Formerly of Hampton High.

Linda Rickenbacker - 5-8 guard...Formerly of Hampton University and Indian River High.

Keiva Small - 5-8 guard...Earned first-team Division I All-Independent honors (14.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.1 apg) as a senior at Longwood (2007). Formerly of Norview High.

Latoya Taylor - 5-8 guard...Scored 1,025 points during her career at Virginia Union. A 1999 graduate of Nansemond River High.

Shantel Wilson - 5-9 guard...Four-year performer at Old Dominion from 2002-07.

Juel Woodard - 5-8 guard...Formerly of Norfolk State University and Oscar Smith High.

Jessica Wright - 5-8 guard/forward...Walked on at Old Dominion, transferred and starred at Clark University. Formerly of Peninsula Catholic.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Simply spectacular stuff from Ticha

Miss the good ole days of Ticha? Check out this sweet pass to Candace Parker. Look carefully. It's tough to spot the ball!

George Mason brings back old coach as new assistant

Remember Jim Lewis, the winningest coach in George Mason history? The ex-Patriot is a Patriot once again, this time as an assistant to Jeri Porter.

Lewis was the inaugural coach of the Washington Mystics, where he spent two seasons. Last year he was an assistant at Georgia Tech. Prior to that he spent two years as director of scouting for the Indiana Fever. Before coming to George Mason, he spent six seasons as head coach at Fordham.

Lewis was 201-177 at GMU over 14 seasons (1984-1997).

ODU's Barefoot names first assistant

New ODU coach Karen Barefoot has her first assistant, and the name is familiar to CAA fans.

Hofstra graduate and Nigerian-born Amaka  Agugua will be the Lady Monarchs new recruiting coordinator. Agugua spent the last two seasons at Indiana (where former Pride coach Felisha Legette-Jack is head coach. The Hoosiers have advanced to the WNIT for the last two years.)

Previously Agugua was an assistant at VCU, she was responsible for working with the Rams' post players, as well as assisting with VCU's recruiting efforts. (Barefoot was an ODU assistant during the same period.) Agugua was instrumental in guiding VCU to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09, and develop two WNBA draft picks in Krystal Vaughn (2008) and Quanitra Hollingsworth (2009).

If you're looking for another Virginia connection, Agugua starred at Oakton (Herndon) High School for coach Fred Priester. Her senior season she was an All-Met and All-Virginia selection, as well as a Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year finalist. She was also MVP of the Northern Region and took her team to the state championship game her senior year season. Additionally, Agugua participated in the Northern Region and Virginia State All-Star games.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Buchan vs. Delle Donne at World University Games?

Now that Old Dominion's Mairi Buchan and Becca Allison have been named to the Great Britain team for the 2011 World University Games Aug. 13-22 in Shenzhen, perhaps those Lady Monarchs can help their team figure out some way to slow a loaded United States entry. Great Britain and the U.S. have both been assigned to Pool B of the 16-team tournament (along with Slovakia and Brazil), guaranteeing the two will meet somewhere within the teams' first three games.

Although the U.S. team hasn't been officially set, the 14 finalists for the squad include Stanford's Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike, Notre Dame star/Twitter darling Skylar Diggins (100,295 followers?) and Delaware's Elena Delle Donne. The team will be trimmed to 12 during a final training session beginning July 31 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Not sure how Buchan, Allison and Co. can match up with those guys. But if the Brits need any help in dealing with Delle Donne, the Lady Monarchs have some fond memories of how that can successfully play out.

The tournament will also allow Buchan a crucial audition for a spot on Great Britain's 2012 Olympic team. Last summer, Buchan starred on Great Britain's gold medal-winning U-20 squad at the European Division B Championships and appeared poised to move up to the senior team. But she missed her entire college season with a foot injury and also had to withdraw from this summer's Eurobasket finals.

“I will continue to work hard,” Buchan said. “And have decided to treat the World University Games this August as my chance to prove myself to the senior coaching staff so that I can still have a chance at making the team next year for the Olympic Games in London.”

Buchan was at Old Dominion Wednesday for new Lady Monarchs coach Karen Barefoot's introductory press conference. Allison is in training with the Great Britian U-20 team which will play in the A Division European tournament July 7-17 in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Longwood fills out coaching staff

Jenny Poff
Wanisha Smith

Lindsay Schrader (left)
Our first thought upon learning that Longwood coach Bill Reinson has tabbed Lindsay Schrader and Jenny Poff as his new assistant coaches was that it's too bad those guys are out of eligibility. Schrader, after all, is the fiery, do-whatever-it-takes former first-team All-Big East pick out of Notre Dame. Poff is an ex-Miss Michigan Basketball runner-up who led Ohio University in scoring and assists as a senior and was one of the best shooters in Bobcats history. And it's not as though you have to go deep into the archives to find this stuff out. Both ended their careers in 2009-10. At 24 years old, no doubt they can both still lace 'em up and do all that stuff today (OK, at least most of that stuff).

Schrader and Poff will join yet another star of recent vintage, Wanisha Smith, on the Longwood staff. The 25-year-old Smith, the lone holdover from the 2009-10 cadre of assistants, was a four-year standout at Duke and a second-round pick in the WNBA draft.

Of course, for all their success on the court, how well they do collectively from the bench remains to be seen. Given that Schrader and Poff are just one year removed from their playing days and Smith only three, this might be the least experienced staff in Division I. This doesn't mean it can't work, though. And this much is certain - they won't have any trouble relating to today's young women. At 24, 24 and 25 years old, Schrader, Poff and Smith still are today's young women.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Introducing ODU coach Karen Barefoot

Snippets from Wednesday's press conference introducing new coach Karen Barefoot at Old Dominion.

Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig on what the search committee was seeking in making the first coaching hire for the program since 1987.

We wanted an established head coach. We felt that with the strength of our program, the fact that we are the third most successful program in the history of women's basketball, this program certainly deserves a head coach.

We wanted an individual with local ties and recruiting contacts. 

The ability to turn around a program. All you have to do is look at where Karen has been and the success Karen has enjoyed

A shared vision for national prominence.

We needed somebody with energy, drive, passion and enthusiasm to help us accomplish these goals

The ability to reignite the Lady Monarch fan base.

Words from Karen Barefoot, the sixth coach in program history:

I want to give glory to God for giving the opportunity to coach the best game ever and coach life lessons.

I am ecstatic and I am excited. I have to thank all the players I ever coached. They're the reason I do it.

I also want to thank Coach Larry for giving me an opportunity to come back to ODU and in 2008 to experience a Sweet 16.

I was 6 years old. I played on a guys team at the YMCA at Huntington Park. There was no girls team until I was in high school, so I always had to play with the boys. My brother would always tell me and his friends, 'She's not good. She's not good. She's not good.' I had to earn it when I was in high school and he finally said, 'She's good.'  " .... I'm on the guys team and I'm so excited when I scored my first basket. Unfortunately it was at the wrong end. Well let me just tell you, I'm not going to be perfect but I'll never give you less than my best.

On her four years as a player at Christopher Newport where Barefoot is the all-time assists and steals leader and second in scoring:

It was the best part of my life. I learned so much. ..Most importantly, it was the people, the fans. If you didn't get there an hour before game time, you were not getting the seat. And I'm going to tell you this at ODU: If you don't get your season ticket, you're not going to get a seat because we're going to get it done and get after it.

On Lenoir-Rhyne, where Barefoot coached from 2001-05:
It was great to build a program from the bottom to the top, and to leave that program at NCAA status was great.

On her favorite memory as an ODU assistant: ODU vs. Virginia at the Constant Center in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, 2008:

I remember telling Coach Larry, because it was my scout, 'We've got to get Jazz the ball.' It was Jazz Walters. Everybody knows Jazz Walters. Well Jazz made an unbelievable shot. When I looked around and saw the crowd and the faces, that's why I coach the game, to see the joy from this area -- to me Old Dominion has the best fans in the country, the most committed fans.

Listing her five championship rings:

Every challenge I've succeeded because you have to get the right people around you.
Our team will have fun, but they will earn fun. We will be champions on the court, off the court and in the community. We will work hard to make you proud.

The second thing that is the most important thing, We will be relentless in recruiting. That's where it starts. ... We're going after All-Americans. I believe in this region we have top-notch coaches and players.

Third, I will hire a championship staff. That is important to me. I will not rush the process. We are going to work. This is not a 9-5 job.

Number 4. The style of play. I am a player-development coach. I love to teach. I am very passionate. Our team will not take off on any possession. I am a defensive coach. We will have an uptempo system, uptempo style that our fans will love. We will have more possessions than our opponents. We will have players that will play hard and tough until the end.  .... We will have open practices a couple times of week. There are no secrets.

You are the most important part of the fifth championship ring. You are our sixth man. You are the glue; you are the reason. Old Dominion basketball will get back to the Top 25, but we need your support.

On hiring of assistant coaches:

By this weekend I will have two committed.....It's my second day on the job. I've already talked to over 300 people.

In conclusion:

I am 1,000 percent committed to you. I'm up for new ideas. We are a family and I want you to understand that my door is always open. I represent you and I promise you I'll give you all I've got.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Sweet 16 of burning questions for the new Old Dominion administration

1. Will Karen Barefoot's new contract include a shoe deal? If so, why?

2. Current ODU players, are you really committing to your offseason workout programs? With this coach, come fall, we have a feeling you'll really wish you had.

3. Can any Lady Monarchs fan  forget Barefoot's last game at the Constant Center, the thrilling overtime victory over Virginia in 2008 that propelled ODU into the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16?

4. How come Wood Selig gave several interviews about the process and actually put out a release a full week ahead of the press conference? Aren't schools supposed to stonewall, deny and no-comment the media to death during coaching searches until they're good and ready for the formal presentation? (Bet some of his fellow ADs are giving him grief for his relative transparency.)

5. Hey, Tia Lewis, you OK with this hire?

6. Hey, Pat Summitt, you OK with this hire?

7. Is the new coach prepared to emphasize work in the classroom just as much as work on the court? Given that the ODU women's basketball team's Academic Progress Rate is in the bottom 10 percent of all Division I teams, that's a message that needs to be sent. NCAA tournament appearances are great, but in the big picture, this is the No. 1 issue surrounding present-day Lady Monarchs hoops.

8. Oh, and can we do something about all those turnovers?

9. The week before Wendy Larry stepped down, Selig was at the Villa 7 Consortium where he had a chance to meet and assess 60 of the nation's top assistant coaches. How come none of these up-and-comers even made his list of finalists?

10. If Barefoot works out, won't it provide another reason to give thanks to Larry, the woman who gave Barefoot her Division I break a few years ago?

11. If Barefoot brings current Elon and ex-ODU assistant Marie Christian with her, and keeps Nikita Lowery Dawkins on hand, wouldn't the only difference between ODU's 2007-08 staff and the 2011-12 version be that Larry's no longer in charge of it?

12. Is this now the official song of Lady Monarchs hoops?

13. Did ODU turn down Nancy Lieberman, or did Lieberman, after thinking it over, turn down ODU?

14. If recruiting has been such an issue with ODU, isn't it a bit surprising they just hired someone whose previous work with the Lady Monarchs is part of the reason people think recruiting was such an issue with ODU? (Just asking the question, folks.)

15. How many ways can you have fun with Barefoot in a headline?

16. Given the Howard coach was on the list of finalists, we ask this. Was David Six even considered?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

ODU has its coach and it's Barefoot

Looks like Old Dominion has found its coach and it's Elon's Karen Barefoot, a former assistant to Wendy Larry.

We're thrilled for Barefoot because we know how much this job means to her. We followed her career at The Apprentice School and at ODU and this much we know: Barefoot will work her tail off for the Lady Monarchs. We know some ODU fans were salivating at the prospect of Nancy Lieberman, but we agree with Wood Selig's choice.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mel muses about Nancy at ODU; Virginia receives high marks

Mel speculates about Nancy returning to Old Dominion as coach, and Virginia gets high marks from the Black Coaches and Administrators group for its hiring process, which concludes the number of nonwhite coaches in women's basketball has declined.

Virginia was one of the 11 schools among 18 to receive an A for its efforts; grades are calculated by adding points from four categories, including communication, the hiring/search committee, candidates interviewed and time frame of the search.

Virginia Tech was the only school receiving an F for failure to participate.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Old Dominion's Maiga-Ba has baby boy

LadySwish extends congratulations to former Old Dominion great Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, who gave birth to an 8-pound, 11-ounce baby boy named Mamadou on May 19. Mother and baby, who live in Sacramento, were visited by former teammates Lucienne Berthieu and Myriah Spence as well as former manager Felecia Allen last weekend.

The nine-year veteran of the WNBA was waived last month by the Minnesota Lynx (makes us pause and wonder about the league's maternity policy). No word yet on whether she will continue to play for Mali in the 2012 Olympics.