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WVC women's basketball: New coaches bring new styles to W.Va. State, UC

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The new women's basketball coaches at West Virginia State University and the University of Charleston couldn't be any more different.

The Yellow Jackets' David Smith is 65 years old and has a 575-271 career record that he began compiling at St. Joseph's (Ind.) after starting the program there in 1975 and includes stops at Shippensburg (1991-98) and Bellarmine (1999-2012).

The Golden Eagles' Adam Collins is 35 years old and relatively new to the coaching game, reaching the 100-victory mark for his career last year in his fourth season at the University of Texas Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas. Collins has a 107-62 mark as a head coach, which includes two seasons (2003-05) at Mercyhurst.

Smith's plans for the Yellow Jackets is to run when they can but always play solid half-court defense.

Collins will implement a fast-paced style with the Golden Eagles, a stark contrast to what former coach Sherry Winn did at UC.

These coaches know each other and Collins' Permian Basin team defeated Smith's Bellarmine squad 97-83 on Dec. 17, 2010.

West Virginia State and Charleston will meet for the first time this season on Jan. 12 at Eddie King Gym.

But first, Smith is trying to do at State what he did at St. Joseph's - start from scratch.

"Our biggest detriment has been having too many days where we don't accomplish a lot," said Smith, whose team opens the season at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20 at Seton Hill. "The kids need as many repetitions as possible."

The Yellow Jackets - who went 53-59 in four seasons under Renee Bostic - lost former South Charleston standout Sissy Wagner, as well as 2009-10 West Virginia Conference freshman of the year Chelsey Davis, both of whom transferred.

Early in a scrimmage last Saturday at NCAA Division III Spalding in Louisville, Ky., Asia Greenleaf, a 6-foot-1 junior and former Parkersburg South standout, suffered what is most likely a season-ending knee injury.

Also going down with injuries were two other starters - 5-8 senior guard Jasmine Blanton and 5-8 junior point guard India Taste.

Blanton was the team's leading scorer last year with 15 points per game, while Greenleaf was at 9.8.

Smith's thinning lineup includes former Winfield standout and junior Jordan Brock along with juniors Janelle Williams and Maria Femia.

The veteran coach said he'll leave the West Virginia State women's basketball program in better shape than it was when he arrived, although he admits it has been a struggle so far.

"My job is to make the program better, build a program, and where we are right now isn't the measure," Smith said. "The measure is where we are four or five years from now. This is the first step. We can't be judged right now, where we are, or how we end up doing this year."

Collins appears to be better off, inheriting a team with plenty of underclassmen following Winn, who won 237 games during her 11-year tenure.

In 2003, UC earned three consecutive bids to the Division II NCAA Tournament, including a spot in the Elite Eight in 2005.

The Golden Eagles finished ninth in the conference last season before Winn resigned to pursue other interests.

While his situation looks more appealing on paper, Collins won't have 2011-12 All-Conference first-team star Erika Rousculp - who would have been a junior - or guard Lauren Davis - who was a key part of UC's backcourt rotation.

The pair combined for almost 25 points and 17 rebounds per game.

Collins will lean heavily on guard Chrissy Keir, last year's third-leading scorer.

And, they'll be doing things a little differently at UC. The style of play will involve wholesale substitutions, pressure defense and a run-and-gun style similar to that which was implemented at Glenville State by Coach Bunky Harkleroad.

Harkleroad's Pioneers led Division II in scoring with 94.3 points last season, while Collins' Texas-Permian Basin squad was 17th at 74.9. The Falcons were 16th in 3-point field goals per game at 7.6. During the 2010-11 season, Permian Basin was second in the nation in scoring behind Glenville.

The new look of the Golden Eagles will be unveiled at 6 p.m. Saturday against Slippery Rock at Eddie King Gym.

"We'll substitute, but not quite as often as Glenville does," said Collins, referring to Harkleroad's propensity to substitute four and five players at a time about every minute.

"We'll substitute every couple of minutes."

Collins said he wants to continue what Winn built on at the University of Charleston, it doesn't compare to what he dealt with when he took over at Permian Basin. The Falcons had won two games the two seasons - 0-25 in 2006-07 and 2-25 in 2007-08.

"I have the utmost respect for Coach Winn," Collins said. "I've kind of built something at UTPB and I would like to think somebody comes there and say, 'We'll try to keep it where Coach Collins had it,' and I feel the same about Charleston.

"I look forward to continuing what she built. That's Coach Winn's program and her mark will be there forever."

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.


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