Gonzaga University women's basketball head coach Kelly Graves announced the hiring of current WNBA player and former Stanford University standout Nicole Powell as an assistant coach with the Bulldogs. Powell replaces Julie Shaw who is now the head women's basketball coach at the University of La Verne.
"I am excited to have Nicole join the staff," stated Graves. "She is the whole package; has had some phenomenal experiences, is a tremendous player, has a Stanford pedigree – playing for a great program, and most importantly she has a great personality. She has a deep understanding of the game and the ability to communicate with today's player. I think she is going to fit well with our team, coaching staff and our university."
Powell is currently closing out her 10th year in the WNBA and first with the Tulsa Shock. She was the third overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft; selected by the Charlotte Sting.
"I am thrilled to begin my coaching career at Gonzaga University and honored that Coach Graves and his staff have given me this wonderful opportunity to be a part of the Zag family," stated Powell. "I am really looking forward to working with the staff and players each day. I love the high energy, positive atmosphere that Coach Graves has cultivated and am excited to get in the gym and work with the team."
In her impressive 10-year professional career, Powell has won a WNBA Championship with the Sacramento Monarchs (2005), named the WNBA Most Improved Player (2005) and named a WNBA All-Star (2009). The forward also led the WNBA in 3-point field goals made with 66 in 2005 and was first in free throw percentage at 96.4 percent during the 2007 campaign and during the 2009 season at 97.9 percent.
She has career averages of 10.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. She is also shooting a career 39.3 percent from the field and 88.4 percent from the charity stripe.
As a member of the Tulsa Shock this season, Powell is averaging 7.7 points and 4.2 rebounds over 26 games and is shooting 42.1 percent from the floor.
Powell ended her career at Stanford as one of only two 3-time Kodak All-American's in its women's basketball history and was a finalist for the James Naismith Player of the Year for 3-consecutive years (2002-04). She graduated as the program's all-time leader in career rebounds (1,143) and third all-time leading scorer (2,062). Powell guided the Cardinal to the Elite Eight as a senior in 2003-04 and was named the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region.
The Sierra Vista, Ariz., native began her career with Stanford as the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2000 and was named the Conference Player of the Year in both 2002 and 2004. Powell helped Stanford accumulate a 105-26 record over her four years, as she averaged 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. She is also the only player in Pac-12 history to have recorded more than one career triple-double, tallying six in her career.
Powell graduated from Stanford in 2005 with a degree in urban studies.
"My experiences as both a collegiate and professional athlete have been great preparation for coaching," stated Powell. "I understand the demands our student-athletes face and how important it is to help them find the right balance to excel in their sport and in school while experiencing all that college life has to offer."
Powell will join the Gonzaga staff after the 2013 WNBA season concludes.