Richardson-Thornley takes over WBB

Head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley gives instruction for team drills during practice at Nicholson Pavilion.

Head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley gives instruction for team drills during practice at Nicholson Pavilion.

Xander Fu

Xander Fu

Head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley gives instruction for team drills during practice at Nicholson Pavilion.

Simo Rul, Staff Reporter

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Xander Fu
Head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley gives instruction for team drills during practice at Nicholson Pavilion.

Following Jeff Harada’s departure from the women’s basketball program, assistant coach Randi Richardson-Thornley was named head coach in April 2017. Last year’s team even voiced their own positive opinions when it came time for Richardson-Thornley to take over.

Richardson-Thornley said one of the biggest changes that occured after making the jump to head coach was the added responsibility.

“Your role changes,” Richardson-Thornley said. “Some of your relationships with kids change because now you’re the one getting on them.”

Senior point guard Jasmin Edwards is one of three players that  has spent the most time under coach Harada and now Richardson-Thornley.

“I think the competitiveness of our entire team,” Edwards said. “The style when Jeff was here was really similar. But with Randi [there’s] a little of an emphasis on getting after teams.”

When it came time to pick an assistant coach, Richardson-Thornley selected former University of Wyoming teammate Hillary Carlson. The two played together from 2007-11.

Richardson-Thornley said that when it came to selecting Carlson, she wanted someone who was trustworthy and knew how to teach the game. She also knew that Carlson had a lot of knowledge about the post position, which was something that she wanted to bring into the team.

Carlson was also named to the All-Mountain West Conference team three times including a first team selection her senior year. In that year she averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. She also set a conference record for blocks in a single game her junior year with 10.

Carlson was an assistant coach at Central High School in her hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming. She said being a high school assistant coach and college assistant coach are different because of the amount of work.  

“There is a lot more scouting and preparing for your opponent at the college level than at the high school level,” Carlson said. “We can watch film and games at that level but we don’t really have the time or resources to really dig into scouting report like we do here. Learning what to look for and developing a game plan based on film and previous experiences.”

Richardson-Thornley added that the team has done a good job at handling the changes, however that doesn’t mean breaks in holding players accountable.

“The biggest thing that we changed was [our] pace,” Richardson-Thornley said. “We’re playing a lot faster… as well we’re running more of a motion type of offense where our players are required to make reads and make plays.”

Another change for Richardson-Thornley is the increase in administrative work such as parents contacting her and asking to watch their kids play when it comes to recruiting, budget, team travel added.

“More people want to reach out to you,” Richardson-Thornley said. “Like in terms of people want you to watch their kids, in terms of recruiting. Just different roles, different administrative work in terms of travel and budget and that kind of stuff.”

Richardson-Thorley’s graduate assistant this year is Stacey Lukasiewicz whom she had previously coached at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) before coming to CWU.

Richardson-Thornley said that Lukasiewicz has a passion for basketball, wants to coach, works hard and is positive. Richardson-Thornley said she knew Lukasiewicz would build a great relationship with the Wildcat players because she had great relationships with her teammates at SPU.

Lukasiewicz said one of the biggest changes for her transitioning from playing to coaching, is understanding the members of the team, especially since the girls are so close to her age.

“I just have tried to get to know the girls,” Lukasiewicz said. “To understand [and] build that relationship first before I’m yelling or anything like that. My job is to encourage and to bring energy, so [I] focus on that.”

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Richardson-Thornley takes over WBB