Three local women’s basketball teams – Whitworth, Community Colleges of Spokane and North Idaho College – enter the 2022-23 season with new faces on the sideline.
The three new coaches all have ties to Spokane or the Pacific Northwest.
At Whitworth, former men’s basketball star Kenny Love takes over for Joial Griffith, who spent four years coaching the Pirate women.
Love assisted the men’s team following the conclusion of his playing career. All told, he’s been at Whitworth for 10 years. In that time, he says he’s seen the women’s program experience plenty of ups and downs since it last played in the NCAA Division III Tournament his freshman season.
“We’re kind of getting rid of the (negatives) and really just advancing things on the positive side, and just becoming a more consistent program that really understands our identity,” Love said.
CCS hired Brittany Kennedy, who played for Lewis and Clark before heading to Oregon State and Florida Gulf Coast. Those college stops helped jump-start her professional career in Finland and Germany.
“I’m excited,” Kennedy said. “First year as a head coach, it’s great to be here. I never would have imagined being a Spokanite and being able to now be a head coach here. So there’s that added excitement of a new journey, a new chapter on my journey.”
She had been with LC as junior varsity coach and varsity assistant.
NIC brought in former Montana basketball player Nathan Covill, who recently coached Division II Willamette and was an assistant coach for the Montana women.
“I’ve been familiar with NIC for a number of years,” Covill said. “I played at the University of Montana, and my wife is from Spokane. So I spent a lot of time in my college years and post-college years in this area, and just know that this is a really great place to live and an awesome place to recruit to.”
Senior Quincy McDeid – a North Central grad – returns to run the Pirate offense. She’ll look for former Gonzaga Prep Bullpup Olivia Meyer down low.
“(McDeid) has been an impact player, honestly from the first week she stepped on campus and practice started,” Love said. “They are two of the biggest ones where you want to kind of pair the leadership role with some of your more talented players just because that’s going to hold so much weight.”
Local freshmen Sydney McLean (Freeman) and Avery Bowman (Northwest Christian) are also on the Whitworth squad.
The Sasquatch feature two Sobotta sophomore cousins – point guard Glory and backcourt mate AJ – who will try to translate their family chemistry onto the court.
Kennedy said those two, along with freshman Emma Severs from Pomeroy, have stood out early in practice.
“There has actually been a lot of improvement, honestly,” Kennedy said. “There are just probably some players that no one knows about because we had to do tryouts and coming over and taking over late, but I’m excited.”
The Sasquatch have five local freshmen on the roster.
Upon his arrival, Covill gravitated toward sophomore Kaylee Banks.
Banks, a Sandpoint graduate, stood out to Covill for her communication. Before Covill was fully integrated in the program, Banks’ leadership surfaced.
“I think she’s someone … I can see as a leader in the program,” Covill said. “And then we have a number of kids who are just unknown, we have eight newcomers, and we have four returns. But of those four returns, only two of them played minutes.”
Covill hopes Alicia Suggs, an athletic freshman from Mead, will take over the lead ballhandling role.
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