UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - Penn State Lady Lion head coach Coquese Washington was selected as the 2012 Russell Athletic/WBCA Region 6 Coach of the Year. Washington is now one of eight finalists for the 2012 Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coach of the Year. Washington is the first Lady Lioncoach to earn Regional Coach of the Year honors since Rene Portland won theWBCA National Coach of the Year award in 2004.
Joining Washington on the list of finalists are her mentor Muffet McGraw of Notre Dame, Maryland's Brenda Frese, Arkansas' Tom Collen, Bowling Green's Curt Miller, Baylor's Kim Mulkey, Utah State's Reagan Pebley and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer. The winner will be announced at the second annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 2, in conjunction with the Women's Final Four in Denver.
Washington was selected as the Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading Penn State to its first regular-season title since 2004. The Lady Lions started conference play 1-2, but rallied to win 12 of their next 13 games to claim the regular-season crown. Penn State's 13 Big Ten wins are the most since the 2004-05 campaign and PSU's 11 road wins this year are the most for the Lady Lions since 1993-94. The Lady Lions posted back-to-back 25-win seasons for the first time since 2002-03 and 2003-04 and the 26 victories are the most since the 2003-04 campaign. Penn State has been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 all season and is ranked 11th in the final poll.
The Lady Lions have increased their Big Ten win total in each of Washington's five seasons in Happy Valley. The Lady Lions led all teams in scoring (74.8 ppg) for the first time since the 2002-03 squad averaged 74.6 points in 16 conference games. Penn State also won the Big Ten title for rebounding margin (+6.1) for the first time since 1998-99 (+5.1).