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Summer women’s basketball notebook volume two
Courtesy: Charlotte Sports Information
          Release: 08/02/2013
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It’s time to check in with the Charlotte women’s basketball program and the second of a three-part summer notebook series. Each of these notebooks is designed to provide updates on the 49ers summer happenings and catch up with a member of the coaching staff.

The focus for this edition will be with assistant coach Joanne Aluka-White, who enters her second season on the Niners bench. Charlotte49ers.com recently sat down with coach Aluka-White to discuss the team’s post players, her time in Charlotte, where she helped lead the Niners to a WNIT Sweet 16 berth last year, and a preview of some of the teams and players in Conference USA, a league that features some familiar names and faces to her.

In addition, below a short capsule on each of the other 15 members of Conference USA heading into 2013-14. The information pertains to each program’s women’s basketball history and last year only, as a broader perspective on each member school was provided on the website throughout July.

While exact dates, locations and times of conference games have yet to be announced, the 49ers know they will face each of the other 15 schools once during the season, and one foe twice, as a designated “rival” opponent. The league will play with all 16 schools in a single division with each member reaching the conference tournament, to be held in March in El Paso, Texas.

“The Starting Five”: Conference USA women’s basketball edition

East Carolina (22-10, 11-5 C-USA; WNIT First Round; head coach Heather Macy [fourth year])
-- Reached the postseason for the first time since 2010 last year
-- Two 20-win campaigns since joining Conference USA in 2001-02
-- Rosie Thompson (1975-80) with 2,352 career points as all-time leading scorer and 1,183 boards as all-time leading rebounder
-- Appeared in the 1982 and 2007 NCAA Tournaments
-- Captured C-USA Sport Academic Award last year

FIU (19-13, 12-8 Sun Belt; WNIT First Round; head coach Cindy Russo [35th year])
-- Boasts the nation’s leading scorer from a year ago, All-American Jerica Coley (26.3 ppg)
-- Reached the postseason in back-to-back years, longest run since 2001-03. The 2002 campaign marked the sixth NCAA Division I Tournament bid in program history.
-- One of the top 15 programs nationally for win percentage during the decade of the 1990s
-- Have featured seven professional players throughout the program’s history
-- Coach Russo ranks among all-time wins leaders in NCAA history with 689 during her career

Florida Atlantic (12-17, 9-11 Sun Belt; no postseason; head coach Kellie Lewis-Jay [second year])
-- Appeared in the NCAA Division II regionals four times in a five-year span from 1989 through 1993
-- Made lone NCAA Division I Tournament in 2006 after winning the Atlantic Sun championship
-- WNBA Hall of Famer Yolanda Griffith played her only season with the Owls in 1992-93
-- Griffith was tabbed the NCAA Division II Player of the Year and later earned WNBA MVP honors in 1999
-- Last made the postseason with a WNIT berth in 2012

Louisiana Tech (14-17, 9-9 WAC; no postseason; head coach Teresa Weatherspoon [seventh year])
-- One of just two programs to achieve 1,000 victories, joining Tennessee
-- Reached the NCAA Tournament 27 times with national titles in 1981 (AIAW), 1982 and 1988
-- Produced 21 WNBA players, including current head coach Teresa Weatherspoon
-- Honored with six selections to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
-- Leon Barmore retired as the all-time leader, men’s or women’s, in win percentage (.869, 576-87) during a 20-year career

Marshall (9-21, 3-13 C-USA; no postseason; head coach Matt Daniel [second year])
-- Made lone NCAA Tournament appearance in 1997
-- Karen Pelphrey (1982-86) is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,746 points
-- Former player Tammie Green switched careers to golf and was named the 1987 LPGA Rookie of the Year
-- Won five-straight regular-season Southern Conference titles from 1985-89
-- Erica Woods was the recipient of the Conference USA Spirit of Service Award for the winter season last year

Middle Tennessee (25-8, 17-3 Sun Belt; NCAA First Round; head coach Rick Insell [ninth year])
-- Has appeared in 16 NCAA Tournaments, including nine of the last 10 years
-- Head coach Rick Insell is the program’s all-time leader with 199 victories
-- Produced the nation’s leading scorer in three-consecutive seasons from 2008-10
-- Has had three players reach the WNBA, including current assistant coach Alysha Clark with the Seattle Storm
-- Graduated senior Kortni Jones participated in the State Farm 3-Point Championship at the Final Four in April

North Texas (11-19, 10-10 Sun Belt; no postseason; head coach Mike Petersen [second year])
-- Have played in three NCAA Tournaments but none since 1985-86
-- Last competed in the WNIT in 2001-02
-- Had the 2013 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year (Loryn Goodwin), who has since transferred to Butler
-- Mike Petersen has been a collegiate coach for over 30 years, including a stint as the head women’s coach at Wake Forest prior to taking the North Texas job
-- Produced the 2002 Sun Belt Player of the Year in Jalie Mitchell

Old Dominion (19-12, 10-8 CAA; WNIT First Round; head coach Karen Barefoot [third year])
-- Has appeared in 25 NCAA Tournaments, most recently in 2008
-- Developed some of the biggest names in women’s basketball history, including Anne Donovan and Nancy Lieberman
-- Captured three national championships with the lone NCAA crown coming in 1985
-- Won 122 consecutive home conference games between 1991-92 and 2003-04, including eight league tournament titles
-- Two former players (Hamchetou Maiga and Ticha Penicheiro) won the 2005 WNBA championship with the Sacramento Monarchs

Rice (14-16, 6-10 C-USA; no postseason; head coach Greg Williams [ninth year])
-- Rising senior Jessica Kuster was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and has averaged a double-double in each of the last three seasons
-- Advanced to a league tournament championship game four-straight years, from 2004-07, and captured the 2005 WAC title over Louisiana Tech
-- Last made the postseason with a WNIT appearance in 2011
-- Played in the 2000 and 2005 NCAA Tournaments
-- Last year’s schedule featured three of the last four teams to win the national championship (Tennessee, Baylor, Texas A&M)

Southern Miss (15-16, 6-10 C-USA; no postseason; head coach Joye Lee-McNelis [10th year])
-- Has appeared in eight NCAA Tournaments with the last berth coming in 1996
-- Participated in three WNITs, the last occurring in 2008
-- Reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1994 with a 26-5 record
-- Janice Felder concluded her career in 1993-94 as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,275 points
-- Last year’s squad was tied for the seventh youngest nationally with an average of just 1.091 years of collegiate experience entering the campaign

Tulane (24-9, 11-5 C-USA; WNIT Sweet 16; head coach Lisa Stockton [20th year])
-- Has won four regular season and five tournament Conference USA championships since joining the league in 1995-96
-- Head coach Lisa Stockton is the conference’s all-time leader in victories with 396, including 179 against league foes
-- Last year marked the fourth-straight season in which at least two members of the program earned all-conference accolades
-- Five former players collected All-America honors during their careers
-- Grace Daley’s 2,249 career points are the most by any player, men’s or women’s, in school history

Tulsa (17-17, 8-8 C-USA; NCAA First Round; head coach Matilda Mossman [third year])
-- Reached the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and 2013
-- Won four games in four days on its home floor to capture the league tournament championship
-- Pulled an upset over No. 5 seed North Carolina State in the 2006 NCAA Tournament First Round
-- School discontinued the sport from 1987-88 through 1995-96
-- Program was a combined 15-66 for the three previous seasons prior to being dropped after 1986-87

UAB (18-13, 9-7 C-USA; WNIT First Round; head coach Randy Norton [first year])
-- Only Conference USA school to reach the NCAA Sweet 16 as a member of the league, accomplishing the feat in 2000
-- First NCAA Tournament experience was in 1994 as a member of the Great Midwest Conference
-- Won the 2011 Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) postseason tournament
-- Wanda Hightower (1979-82) amassed 2,854 points to finish as the school’s all-time scoring leader
-- Deanna Jackson became the first player in C-USA history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds in a career

UTEP (22-10, 8-8 C-USA; no postseason; head coach Keitha Adams [13th year])
-- Has reached the NCAA Tournament two times in the last six years
-- Marked the only postseason appearances in school history (2008, 2012)
-- Set a conference mark with 29 victories in 2011-12 with the four losses that year by a combined 15 points
-- Natasha Lacy became school’s first AP All-American in 2008
-- Produced a pair (Lacy and Izabela Piekarska) of WNBA draft picks in 2008

UTSA (16-14, 10-8 WAC; no postseason; head coach Rae Rippeote-Blair [14th year])
-- Appeared in the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Tournaments
-- As a No. 15 seed in 2009, they pushed No. 2 seed Baylor to overtime, marking the first time in tournament history that had occurred
-- Starlite Williams needed just 97 games from 1983-87 to become the school’s career scoring leader with 1,607 points
-- Monica Gibbs collected the WAC’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2008-09, becoming the first player in league history to receive both accolades in the same season
-- Current head coach Rae Rippeote-Blair is the school’s career wins leader since taking the reins of the program in 2000-01

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