In her 14th year of coaching and fourth season as head coach at Western Michigan is Tasha McDowell. McDowell's teams bring an up-tempo style of play with a focus on defense.
WMU has produced an All-Mid-American Conference selection and Academic All-MAC honoree in each of McDowell's three seasons. Additionally, four players have reached 1,000 career points during McDowell's tenure.
Three of those players eclisped 1,000 points during the 2010-11 season, as Brenna Banktson, Ebony Cleary and Miame Giden each reached the milestone, Bankston and Cleary doing it a basket apart in the same contest. Both seniors, Banktson would finish her career ranking fifth in three-pointers made and Cleary exited the WMU program ranked 15th in scoring and ninth in rebounding. WMU finished the the season on a four-game home winning streak and the Broncos were one of just three teams to hand MAC Tournament champion Bowling Green a regular-season loss, defeating the Falcons, 66-55.
In her first season as a head coach and at Western Michigan, the Broncos went 7-23 overall with three Mid-American Conference wins. However, the record may not reflect the growth of the program. A youthful squad with just two seniors battled in every game of the season. Eight of WMU's conference losses came by six points or less including two in overtime. Bowling Green barely escaped University Arena with a win, as the five-time defending MAC champion needed extra play to beat the Broncos, 79-77, in overtime.
Western Michigan's growth could also be seen in the statistics, especially on the defensive side of the ball as WMU gave up fewer points than the season before. An often undersized Bronco team made its presence felt in the paint, outrebounding MAC foes in 12 of 16 contests.
Two Broncos received postseason awards for their efforts in 2008-09. Tiera DeLaHoussaye was named Third Team All-MAC and Miame Giden was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team. DeLaHoussaye closed out her career as the only player ever from the MAC to record 1,000 points, 600 assists, 500 rebounds and 300 steals in a career. A savvy scorer, Giden had the 15th highest scoring average among freshmen nationwide. DeLaHoussaye also picked up Academic All-MAC honors, was named an All-American by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and reached the 1,000 point milestone.
WMU improved its overall win total by two wins in McDowell's second season at the helm. Giden picked up Honorable Mention All-MAC honors and Molly Dwyer was named Academic All-MAC.
Prior to Western Michigan, McDowell served as an assistant and defensive coordinator at Wisconsin from 2005-08. At UW, McDowell was the premier development coach, defensive coordinator and co-coordinator of recruiting. She worked closely with and helped develop one Kodak/WBCA All-American and four players who went on to play professionally overseas.
During the 2006-07 season, McDowell helped the Badgers set a program record with 23 wins (23-13), as Wisconsin made its first post-season appearance since 2002. The Badgers posted a 4-1 record and were the runner-up champions of the WNIT, losing at Wyoming, 72-56, in the championship.
Prior to her appointment at Wisconsin, McDowell was an assistant coach at UC-Santa Barbara from 2000-2005. McDowell served as the Gauchos' recruiting coordinator and was also responsible for coaching the UCSB defense, helping coordinate the offense in her final season. In addition, she served as the team's community outreach coordinator and was in charge of guard development. She worked directly with one player who went on to play in the WNBA and a second who played overseas.
Coming off an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2004, the Gauchos finished the 2004-05 campaign with a 21-9 record, and made the NCAA Tournament for the ninth consecutive year and 11th time in program history. The Big West Conference champion for the 10th year, UCSB garnered a No. 13 seed in the Tempe Regional, and lost 61-51 to Notre Dame in the first round.
Prior to her job at Santa Barbara, she was the second assistant at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., where she aided in the Braves' recruiting efforts. She also spent two seasons at the University of Dayton, helping the Flyers record their first winning campaign in six years and advance to the 2000 postseason WNIT. McDowell began her coaching career as an assistant at St. Ambrose in 1997.
A native of Rock Island, Ill., McDowell has strong Midwestern roots and is a 1997 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, with a degree in mathematics. McDowell played four years of collegiate basketball, the first two of which were spent at Illinois Central College. After graduating from ICC, McDowell attended Southwest Missouri State before transferring to St. Ambrose. In her lone season with the Queen Bees, the team posted a 27-7 record and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament. A point guard, McDowell averaged 13.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.6 steals as a senior, all team highs.
THE TASHA MCDOWELL FILE
Western Michigan University Head Coach, 2008-present
University of Wisconsin, Assistant Coach, 2005–08
MCDOWELL'S COACHING PHILOSOPHIES
"My long term goal for this program is that we will continue to graduate our young women and produce contributing members of society. I want Western Michigan to be a household name in the homes and conversations of prospective student-athletes. We will definitely bring an exciting, aggressive and disciplined style of play.
"My ideal Western Michigan player is a young woman that is interested in growing as a person, as a student and as a basketball player. She is a competitor that is relentless in her pursuits to be the best she can be. A player that doesn’t see limitations, just opportunities."