“I was immediately interested in the position. This University is beautiful, the women’s basketball program has a great tradition, and North Carolina is full of talented student athletes.”
This is new head women’s basketball coach Trina Patterson, discussing her initial reaction to the opening of the UNCG head coaching job and why she wanted the job here. The past half decade for women’s basketball at UNCG has been a plentiful source for blowout losses, under .300 seasons and guarantee wins for their Southern Conference opponents.
Wendy Palmer’s five year tenure ended last March following a quick and painful 75-53 first round exit in SoCon tournament against the top seeded Mercer Bears. Palmer leaves the program with a 33-116 record, a 11-75 in-conference record and currently on a fifteen game losing streak. The Spartans 13-16 record in 2010-11, a year before Palmer arrived, was the team’s last double digit season. That being said, new coach Trina Patterson has a lot to work with.
On April 17, athletic director Kim Record hired Trina Patterson to the helm of the women’s basketball program. Patterson comes to UNCG with seventeen years of head coaching experience at William and Mary (1991-99), University of Maryland Eastern Shore (1999-2000), and University of Albany (2002-10). Over the past five years, she has taken a step back and worked primarily as an assistant for Stanford and, most recently, Old Dominion. Her two years at Stanford saw the Cardinals go 68-5 and make it to the Final Four in 2012. As an assistant, she primarily worked with the frontcourt of Stanford and future WNBA players and sisters Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike. Chiney reflected on her former coaches hire.
“Coach Patterson is an exceptional leader and is the quintessential competitor. She is a coach that cares about her players on and off the court. She is dedicated to improving players’ skills sets and bringing players together in a manner that breeds success. She made me into the player and leader that I am today. UNCG is not only getting a great coach, but getting a great person.”
During her head coaching career, she was named Coach of the Year with William and Mary in 1993-94 and with Albany in 2007-08. Coach Patterson talked about returning to the role of head coach.
“ I enjoyed my opportunity to assist both at Stanford and ODU; however, I have always had the desire to lead a program.”
Aside from improving on an 8-22 record from the previous year, coach Patterson also has to look at revamping the roster she just inherited. With six players becoming graduating by the end of the 2016-17 season, and only three players on the roster currently either freshmen or sophomores, coach Patterson talked about recruiting in the future and what this will look like with a veteran roster.
“I am excited about our roster for next season. I will focus on in-state recruiting as well as recruit neighboring states. The program has been in a building state. This team has a talented roster and I will look to build upon the returning players as well as the 4 to 7 newcomers.”
Last season, departing senior Lucy Mason had more than double the shot attempts (576 to 271) and averaged more than double points per game (22 to 10) to her next closest teammate. The offense of the Spartans were very reliant on Mason’s playmaking abilities and still they struggled, shooting a pedestrian .375% from the field compared to the .436% they allowed and posting a -7.9 difference in average score. Patterson simply said that she “will continue to emphasize the fundamentals” and that “we will defend- rebound-run and execute!”
With expectations for the women’s basketball team, low to say the least, it would be hard for Patterson to have a worst five year record than 33-116. That being said, it is doubtful that she would take that as a vote of confidence. Despite the lack of success over the past couple years, Patterson says that “the future is bright.” With a resume of success, maybe coach Patterson is what is needed for the women’s program.