Is ACC women’s basketball at a crossroads?

April 5, 2007
By genefoto

NCSU KAy YowWith Duke’s women’s basketball coach Gail Goestenkors making the jump to Texas, I ran across this article at ACC Sports Journal. Is Goestenkors’ move the first of many more changes to come in the near future?

Commitment, coaches help ACC women follow men’s lead in hoops

By Doug Herakovich

April 3, 2007

ACC basketball fans long have held their heads high when they discuss the conference’s superiority. Now, a smaller group of area fanatics is making the same claims about ACC women’s basketball.

For more than three decades, the world of collegiate women’s basketball was dominated by the Southeastern Conference. Schools such as Southern California, Texas and Connecticut have surged into the national spotlight at times, but the SEC has ruled the sport.

In 2005-06, the ACC shocked the women’s basketball community by sending an unprecedented three teams to the Final Four. This year, when North Carolina followed up another strong regular-season performance by the league with a second straight Final Four trip, the ACC drove home a clear point: The SEC has company on top of the mountain.

Looking at the Ladies

Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, here is a quick primer on the state of women’s basketball in the ACC:

The Elite: Duke, Maryland, North Carolina

These teams now are defined by 30-win seasons, Final Fours and NCAA titles. Gail Goestenkors (headed to Texas), Brenda Frese and Sylvia Hatchell have built three of America’s strongest programs, and the two remaining coaches should bring the ACC even more recognition for the foreseeable future – unless someone lures them away.

The Old Guard: N.C. State, Virginia

Kay Yow and Debbie Ryan were key figures in the growth of ACC women’s basketball. Yow has been in Raleigh for 32 years, while Ryan took over in Charlottesville in 1977. Both have reached the Final Four, and both still are producing quality teams, but the day is approaching when these programs will have to find new leadership.

On The Cusp: Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech

These three programs are respected across the nation, and they are hoping to make the leap to the next level. The Eagles, Seminoles and Yellow Jackets are seeking the breakthrough recruiting class – or perhaps a magical March run – that will propel their programs toward elite status.

The bottom four schools in the league are playing catch-up with relatively new coaches. Clemson appears to have the best foundation under second-year mentor Cristy McKinney, but all four are facing a very difficult challenge.

Read the entire article here

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