June 6, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Coquese Washington has Rutgers women’s basketball on the right track 

Howard and Coquese Washington talk all things Rutgers plus Year 1 in the books

It’s time for another Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast episode. Coquese Washington has Rutgers women’s basketball on the right track, and she joins host Howard Megdal to take stock on the program one year into her tenure coaching the Scarlet Knights. Everything from Kaylene Smikle‘s breakout freshman season to the pipeline of talent coming from Jersey and beyond — Destiny Adams, Mya Petticord and freshman Lisa Thompson — are broken down. Learn what is ahead for this sleeping giant of the Big Ten.

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Coquese Washington talks about Year 1 as the head coach at Rutgers and the expectations:

“I didn’t really come in with any expectations. I came into the season, Year 1, and, of course, the timing of my hire made something like what we could do. Push that timeline back. So I didn’t have any expectation. But I just wanted to experience the year. And I just wanted to discover what this community was like. I wanted to discover what our team was like. I wanted to discover what our program was like. So I didn’t have any expectations of we should do this, or we should do that, or players should be here, the program should be there.

“Let’s go through the season, see what happens, and see what this Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Piscataway, New Brunswick community is like when you peel back the curtain. And from that perspective, it was a phenomenal year because it’s been so wonderful to really become entrenched in this community. And I just love being at Rutgers. And I love being in New Jersey and being in this area of the country.”

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Washington talks about the areas of improvement for her team:

“Our shooting percentage wasn’t that great. So we were like, listen, we know we’re going to miss some shots, right? It’s okay to miss; let’s go grab them. Let’s go grab the offensive rebounding and get them back in. Again, Coach John and Coach Nikki really focus on the defense for us. And we do rebounding drills every day, both offensive and defensive rebounding and bonding drills, and we just talked about it’s not how you score all the time, like, it doesn’t have to look glamorous.

“But if you can get offensive rebounds, then and we can get into the paint and get second opportunities that way. That’s huge. And I think our length and having guards who crashed the offensive glass because, in addition to Chyna crashing the offensive glass, Kaylene was pretty good there. Awa was pretty good there. Antonia off the bench was pretty good there. So I think we just had some people who naturally gravitate to that area, and then we just really encouraged it through the things we did in practice.”

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