Daniels | Fahey’With Confidence’ Her Program Can Turn Corner | Sports

Champaign — Victories often occurred before Nancy Fahey arrived in Champaign.

The speed desired by a decorated women’s basketball coach (she is in four separate Halls of Fame) since arriving in Champaign in March 2017 after 31 years of success at the Division III University of Washington in St. Louis. Not.

After all, Big Ten Women’s Basketball is quite different from the Women’s Basketball of the University Athletic Association.

A fifth-year women’s basketball coach in Illinois gave some candid thoughts on some of the struggles she experienced on the court in charge of Illinois on Monday night. Her honest words haven’t even produced a small portion of the social media hottakes stolen in the last 24 hours since Bret Bielema addressed some shortcomings in his Illinois football roster. ..

But you should still be grateful.

“I’m confident and I don’t think I suddenly became a bad coach,” he said in a direct appearance on the WDWS 1400-AM “Monday Night Sports Talk” at Esquire in downtown Champaign. “I think I know how to teach this game, and I’m confident in what I’m doing.”

Not surprisingly. She won more games (772) in her career than she lost (212). However, she also lost more games (79) than she won in the first four seasons in Illinois (35), struggled hard in Big Ten’s play, and scored a 6-64 mark in league games.

Getting a firm grasp of the difference between hiring in Illinois and hiring in Washington is one thing that acknowledged that it took Fahei to get used to it on Monday night.

“There were great people and great kids here. I’m proud to have taught them,” Fahey said. “As you continue to coach, the key point is to bring in the right players for what you’re looking for and take that step. I had to learn some of them. You will be humble enough to know that. “

The new look roster awaits Fahei and Ilini ahead of the 2021-22 season. This season, we will face the State Farm Center in North Carolina Central at 11:00 am on November 9th.

Two of Irini’s top three scorers at Jeanae Terry (Purdue) and Kennedi Myles (Marquette) last season have moved.

Bad optics in the sense of a duo, along with part-time starter J’Naya Ephraim (George Mason), all left the program after a 5-18 record last season. Given that Irini was 5-18, it might not be that bad. As Burma pointed out on Monday, roster talent needs to be upgraded.

Transfer portals are as influential in women’s college basketball as they are in soccer and men’s basketball. New security guard Sarah Anastasia Eska has joined Ilini after her previous missions in Duke and California. Australian 5-foot 11 natives seem to be already in effect as the team voted for her as one of the three team captains along with Jadape Bulls and Aryanai.

The 5-10 Peebles led Ilini by 11.6 points in last season’s goals scored. She and a promising sophomore guard, 5-11 Nai, represented the program at the Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis earlier this month.

Two other transfers, a 6-2 forward Kendalbostic from Michigan and a 5-7 guard Demira Brown from Chipola College, this off with one obvious flaw that Illinois has endured under the Fahei era. Brought in to help important issues from the season. Illinois Coach: Score.

Illinois was the last to rank in the Big Ten, averaging just 59.6 points last season. For the second year in a row, Illinois ranked 14th in the 14-team league.

“What we were really looking for in those veteran kids was to get points,” Fahey said. “I didn’t put enough points on the board (last season). We know. Believe me, there is a little more intent to give the kids the confidence to be a glad shooter. . “

Fahey also has a new look coach staff. First-year assistant coaches Scott Merritt and Vernette Skeete joined holdover John Patterson after first-year assistant coaches at Wisconsin and Texas A & M, respectively, after last season’s first-year assistant coaches Corry Irvin and Hernando Planells. .. ..

“This staff is a competitive staff,” Fahey said. “We work. We will continue to do our best. That’s what I know.”

She is also keen enough to know that the next sub-par season will bring no benefit to her. Fahei is in a unique position with contracts throughout the 2024-25 season. She helped hire Josh Whitman, an athletic director in Illinois, as an athletic director at the University of Washington, and served on the school’s search committee.

A little over two years later, Whitman brought Fahei to Champaign in an attempt to revitalize the program Whitman was humming when he was an Illinois student and football player. Whitman’s undergraduate years in Illinois coincided with Theresa Grentz leading the program to four NCAA tournaments from 1997 to 2000.

However, after losing in the first NCAA tournament in Virginia in 2003, Irini was unable to enter the field of 64 teams in March.

By the way, when Irini and Cavalier met in the aforementioned first round match on March 22, 2003, the freshman guard Adalia Mackenzie was only one month old. A promising newcomer she has to work with this season.

So it’s been enough time since the Irini Women’s Basketball Program has consistently won in these areas of the winter.

“I’m not shy about it,” Fahey said. “I learned a few things, and we think we are better.”

How good is it? We don’t know until a long-delayed, long-awaited, hard-to-find victory actually happens.

Matt Daniels is a sports editor for The News-Gazette.He can be reached at 217-373-7422 or

Daniels | Fahey’With Confidence’ Her Program Can Turn Corner | Sports

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