Wendy Palmer, an 11-year WNBA veteran and former All-American at Virginia under Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame coach Debbie Ryan, is in her second season at the helm for UNCG.
Palmer, who was named head coach on April 19, 2011, replaced longtime UNCG coach Lynne Agee, who retired in March 2011 after 30 years at the helm for the Spartans.
“We are pleased that Wendy Palmer has accepted our offer to be the women's basketball coach at UNCG,” UNCG Director of Athletics Kim Record said upon hiring Palmer. “She brings an exciting blend of experience, both as a college and professional player and as a coach in the CAA, SEC and ACC. Having grown up in the state of North Carolina, she is familiar with the Southern Conference and UNCG's history and has a vision for continuing our tradition of excellence in women's basketball.”
Palmer, a Timberlake, N.C., native, came to UNCG after a two-year stint as an assistant coach at her alma mater.
“This position is a tremendous opportunity, and I am thrilled that Chancellor (Linda) Brady and Kim Record have chosen me to lead the women’s basketball program,” Palmer said. “I am happy to come back home and am honored to be a part of such a rich legacy of excellence in academics and women’s basketball. This is an extraordinary opportunity with unique challenges; I bring my passion, experience, knowledge and energy to help the Spartans compete for championships. My staff and I will work hard and smart to make the UNCG family proud on and off the court.”
While on staff at Virginia, Palmer helped recruit and sign a class ranked in the top 15 nationally by ESPN HoopGurlz and coached All-American and national Defensive Player of the Year Monica Wright. During Palmer’s tenure on the sidelines, Virginia made one NCAA appearance and a WNIT quarterfinals appearance.
Palmer was an assistant for two years at Kentucky prior to returning to Virginia. There, she coached All-American Victoria Dunlap, who was taken 11th in the recent WNBA Draft.
While still playing professionally, Palmer began her coaching career at Virginia Commonwealth. In her two years there, Palmer coached 2006 Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year Quanitra Hollingsworth and Krystal Vaughn, who both went on to play professionally in the WNBA and in Europe.
Palmer enjoyed outstanding playing careers on both the professional and amateur levels. A WNBA All-Star for the Detroit Shock in 2000, Palmer was also the WNBA’s Co-Most Improved Player with the Connecticut Sun in 2004. She was selected in the 1997 Elite Draft by the Utah Starzz in preparation for the WNBA’s inaugural year of competition and was a second-team All-WNBA selection that season. Palmer also played for the Orlando Miracle, San Antonio Silver Stars and Seattle Storm in her WNBA career. The Shock’s Community Relations Player Representative from 1999-2001, Palmer was the recipient of the Black Legends of Professional Basketball John Isaacs Service Award.
Palmer also played professionally in Spain, Brazil, Hungary, Turkey, Italy and Russia, earning another all-star bid in Italy.
On the collegiate level, Palmer was a two-time Kodak All-American and Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year for the Cavaliers, earning those honors in 1995 and 1996. A three-time All-ACC selection, she is still the Cavs’ career rebounding leader and is fourth on Virginia’s all-time scoring list. Palmer was the first woman in school history and just the second player overall to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds at Virginia. Cavalier legend Ralph Sampson was the other.
“UNCG hit a home run with the selection of Wendy Palmer to lead their women's basketball program,” said Ryan, who mentored Palmer as a player and again as a member of her staff. “Wendy comes to Greensboro with a wealth of experiences at every level of the game. Her team will be hard-working, fundamentally sound and fun to watch. Wendy will put Greensboro in the hunt for championships quickly as she helps each player develop to reach her potential both on and off the court. It's an exciting time for the UNCG program. Wendy is the ultimate professional who will communicate effectively with players from a broad range of backgrounds. Her love for the game will be infectious and generate great enthusiasm for the entire university.”
Palmer is a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the Black Coaches Association.
Latasha Shipman enters her first season as an assistant coach at UNCG in 2012-13.
“Latasha Shipman has a wealth of experience and is a proven winner,” UNCG coach Wendy Palmer said upon hiring Shipman. “She’s passionate about the game and works hard and has been a part of building a program and having success. I’m excited to have her return to her home state of North Carolina and to help build a successful program here at UNCG. Her energy, enthusiasm and passion for the game are unparalleled.”
Shipman came to UNCG after a four-year stint at Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Fla., where she was primarily responsible for post player development, academic advisement, community relations and scouting under MEAC Coach of the Year LeDawn Gibson. The Lady Rattlers were 69-51 with a 39-25 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference record during Shipman’s tenure.
FAMU’s best season with Shipman on the sideline was its most recent. The Lady Rattlers went 22-8 on the season, finishing second in the MEAC with a 14-2 league record and falling in the semifinals of the MEAC Championship. The squad turned in a league-best 14-game winning streak during the season and finished with 20-plus wins for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
FAMU senior Antonia Bennett was named the 2012 MEAC Player of the Year, while classmate Qiana Donald garnered Defensive Player of the Year honors.
During Shipman’s tenure, FAMU beat South Florida and Florida on the road and Alabama at home, all during the 2009-10 campaign, in which the Lady Rattlers went 18-11 overall.
Prior to her time at Florida A&M, Shipman spent four years at her alma mater, Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., helping the Lady Bears to three Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships and a pair of NCAA Division II Elite Eight appearances.
As a player for Shaw, Shipman scored more than 1,000 career points and pulled down more than 700 career rebounds prior to graduating in 2004. She helped the Lady Bears to a pair of CIAA championships as the team went 59-6 over her final two seasons.
She played professionally in Chile for one year.
“I am excited to be a part of the Spartan family here at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and honored for the opportunity to work with coach Wendy Palmer,” Shipman said. “UNCG is on the path of becoming something special, and I'm just happy for the opportunity to watch it unfold.”
Darren Guensch enters his first season as an assistant coach at UNCG in 2012-13.
Guensch came to UNCG after two years as an assistant coach at VCU and another two as the Rams’ director of basketball operations. The Rams were 86-47 with Guensch on staff, making four straight postseason appearances.
“Darren has a paid his dues in a variety of different roles in this profession,” UNCG coach Wendy Palmer said upon hiring Guensch. “His work ethic and determination have prepared him for this next step in his career, to be a part of building a program here at UNCG, in a state that he has ties to. He’s excited to hit the ground running.”
As an assistant coach the last two years, Guensch helped the Rams to a pair of postseason WNIT appearances. The Rams were 19-15 in 2011-12, advancing to the WNIT Round of 16. VCU went 19-12 and also made a WNIT appearance in Guensch’s first season as a coach.
Guensch was responsible for perimeter player development at VCU and coached two Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie Team guards and an All-CAA guard in Andrea Barbour. He also helped bring in No. 20 recruiting class among mid-majors, according to ESPN HoopGurlz.
With Guensch serving as its director of basketball operations from 2008-10, VCU went a combined 48-20. The Rams advanced to the WNIT Round of 16 in 2009-10 and earned an NCAA tournament at-large bid the year prior.
Prior to joining the VCU staff, Guensch served as George Mason’s director of basketball operations for two years. He got his start in coaching at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Va., serving as head coach of the freshman team and an assistant varsity coach for the 2005-06 season. He directed the freshman squad to a program-best 16-2 record and its first-ever district championship. He also helped direct Loudoun County’s varsity team to a program-best 29-2 record, district and regional championships and an appearance in the state semifinals.
Guensch graduated from Radford in 2005.
“UNCG is such a special place because of the people,
campus and community, and it is a privilege to join the Spartan
family,” Guensch said. “Success has followed coach
Palmer everywhere she’s been and I am excited to contribute
as we build into the lives of our student-athletes in the classroom
and on the court.”
Guensch completed his master’s degree from George Mason University in 2012 and resides in Greensboro with his wife Devon and son Miles.
LaToya Carter enters her first season as an assistant coach at UNCG in 2012-13.
Carter joins the UNCG staff after two years as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C.
“LaToya is young, energetic and works hard,” UNCG coach Wendy Palmer said upon hiring Carter. “She has a passion for this game, overcame adversity throughout her playing career at Gardner-Webb and pushed forward knowing she wanted to be a coach. She has worked her way up from being a high school coach to coaching in college. She’s really been active out on the recruiting scene, and I’m excited to have her here. Having played in the state, she knows the lay of the land here in North Carolina. She’s going to be great for us.”
In Carter’s two years on the staff, the Runnin’ Bulldogs went 27-36, highlighted by a 23-11 showing in 2010-11. GWU won its first-ever Big South Conference tournament title that year, advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.
Before returning to Boiling Springs, Carter was an assistant coach for two years at Providence Day School in Charlotte, N.C. There, she helped the Chargers to a 48-10-1 record, a state championship in 2010 and a state runner-up finish in 2009.
As a player at Gardner-Webb, Carter was a four-year Atlantic Sun Conference All-Academic selection and helped the Bulldogs to their first-ever A-Sun tournament finals appearance in 2006. She was named the team’s best defensive player in 2007-08.
As a freshman in 2003, Carter played under head coach Serena King and assistant coach Melinda Goodson, both former UNCG players.
“I am excited about being a part of UNCG,” Carter said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to coach alongside head coach Wendy Palmer and carry out her vision of excellence and winning. Coach Palmer is a competitor and a winner. She knows what it takes and how to get there. I am assured the best is yet to come and I am ready to bring the excitement, energy and winning tradition of women's basketball back to where it belongs.”
|Title:||Director of Basketball Operations|
Jade Leitao enters her first season as Director of Basketball Operations for the UNCG women's basketball program. She joins the Spartans after spending one season at Northwood University as an assistant coach.
“I am extremely excited for Jade to join our women’s
basketball program,” Palmer said. “Her core values are
in line with my vision for this program and are essential to our
success. She will bring a number of different values which will
strengthen our coaching staff and team.”
Leitao owns plenty of basketball experience, including playing professionally for Coimbra Olivais in Portugal from 2006-07. She averaged 18.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game in helping lead her team to the playoffs and earning a spot on the league’s all-star team.
Leitao was a member of the Cape Verdean national women’s basketball team, participating in the FIBA African Games in 2005 and 2007, as well as the Lusofonia Games (Portuguese Olympics) in 2006 and 2009. This past summer, she spent four weeks in Cape Verde, putting together and running a four-day girls’ basketball clinic.
“I am thrilled about joining the UNCG women’s basketball program,” Leitao said. “Head Coach Wendy Palmer has an extensive and successful basketball background and exudes her passion for the game. I am eager to be a part of this program, to work with the staff we have, to make an impact in the lives of these student-athletes and to be a Spartan."
Leitao spent two years as a graduate assistant at UAB from 2009-11 as the Blazers captured the 2011 WBI championship and posted 20 wins during the 2010-11 campaign.
She played at three different schools during her collegiate career, including the University of Delaware, Mitchell College and Fordham University. Leitao spent the 2001-02 season at Delaware before transferring to Mitchell prior to the 2002-03 campaign. While at Mitchell, she earned first-team All-Region and NJCAA All-Tournament honors after averaging 22.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. Leitao finished fourth in the nation in scoring among Division II Junior Colleges, helping Mitchell to a No. 2 ranking in the nation in 2003.
After moving to Fordham to finish her college career, Leitao appeared in 31 contests her senior season - including receiving the starting nod in 30 of those games. She ranked fourth on the team in scoring (8.9 ppg), as well as assists (57) and steals (30).
Leitao received her associate’s degree in liberal arts from Mitchell College in 2003 and earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Fordham in May of 2006.