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The University of Colorado announced last Friday the women’s basketball program has named Colorado high school legend Ann Strother as the new director of operations for women’s basketball.
Often regarded as the best girl’s high school basketball player to come out of the state of Colorado, Strother attended the University of Connecticut, where she won two National Championships under coach Geno Auriemma. Strother, 23, played for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury last season.
“The addition of someone of Ann’s stature, both as a high school legend in the state and being a former college star, is one of those rare hires a school can make because people like Ann are so rare,” said David Plati, assistant athletic director. “We’re lucky to be able to bring her back to Colorado in this capacity.”
With an already proven basketball resume at such a young age, head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller expressed the importance of Strother’s presence for both the veteran and the young members of the team.
“She can help our players on a daily basis for what it’s like to be a freshman, a student athlete or a senior leader like Jackie McFarland. There’s a lot she can do for each and every player without even getting on the floor. Sharing her philosophy and experience on the game will pay dividends for our players,” McConnell-Miller said.
Strother attended Highlands Ranch High School where she won two state championships during both her junior and senior seasons. Throughout her four years at UConn, Strother started in all but one of her 143 games and was a Dean’s List student every semester. She was twice named to the All-Big East team.
“It’s kind of proof to the players that you can be as good as you possibly want to be if you put in the type of work that Ann does, and the fact that she’s so close in age, it gives them someone they can truly relate to,” McConnell-Miller said.
A native of Castle Rock, Strother won the Gatorade National High-School, USA Today and Naismith Player of the Year awards. She became only the second high school player ever, the other being Lisa Leslie, to represent the U.S. in the Junior World Championships. Strother was also the Co-MVP of the inaugural McDonald’s High School All-American game.
The Houston Comets drafted Strother with the 15th overall pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft. She was then traded to the Phoenix Mercury prior to the start of the season, but saw little playing time due to a recurring foot injury. This past off-season, she was traded to the Indiana Fever in exchange for veteran Olympia Scott.
“She’s still preparing to play in the WNBA during our off-season. There’s time when she’s working out, she works in the office, she’s balancing trying to play and having a full time job,” McConnell-Miller said. “I think it makes her a great role model for these players.”
Strother replaces former director of basketball operations Carla Morrow , who will be an assistant coach at Xavier University this season.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Derek Schimmel at email@example.com.