PSU's Washington had other possible career choice

The Associated Press Published:

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Penn State's Coquese Washington goes by the title of head coach, but "counselor" works, too.

And Washington still hopes to go by that title more often someday. Washington has a law degree from Notre Dame, where she also played basketball as an undergraduate.

"I never wanted to be a coach. I always wanted to be a lawyer," Washington mentioned this week while preparing the Lady Lions to meet LSU in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Tuesday night.

Washington has practiced law already, doing so during the offseason early in her professional playing career. The problem with being a lawyer in the offseason, though, was that it involved too much time behind a desk.

Washington, who played in the ABL and WNBA, wanted an offseason gig that would help her stay in shape and keep her playing skills sharp, so she became an assistant at Notre Dame.

"I was like, Yeah, I'll do this little coaching thing until I get done playing professional basketball, and then along the way I fell in love with coaching and being around the players and helping have an impact on young people. So I decided to stay, but I am adamant about going back to practice law at some point."

It could be a while though. The 41-year-old Washington has Penn State in its second straight tournament and is considered among the top young head coaches in the game.

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LEAVING THEIR MARK: Tia Magee and Rubylee Wright are two of the cornerstones of the winningest senior class in Georgetown history.

Though their careers ended with a second-round loss to Georgia Tech, they leave the Hoyas program better than they found it. Georgetown had been to only one NCAA tournament when they arrived in 2008-09 but they helped lead the Hoyas into the field of 64 in each of their final three years.

This year's senior class leaves with a record of 93-41 -- surpassing the mark of 85-46 that last year's group established.

"We all came here to make our own name, to make our own legend, to start our own program," Magee said. "Before we got here, nobody knew about Georgetown, nobody took us seriously and from our freshman year all the way to now, we just got better and better, and now people know who Georgetown is. We have the target on our back."

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ENCOURAGING CROWD: Baylor coach Kim Mulkey was impressed with the turnout for her team's 76-57 win over Florida on Tuesday night.

The Lady Bears and Gators played in front of a crowd of 4,097, which nearly filled Bowling Green's Stroh Center. The reason Mulkey was pleased was because Ohio State lost to Florida on Sunday and she was worried that would hurt attendance for the second round.

"I was concerned that all the Ohio State people would not come back or would not give their tickets to somebody, and to walk out there and see a full house -- you appreciate your women's basketball," Mulkey said. "People came out today and there really weren't Baylor or Florida fans here. We had our small contingency of fans from our respective universities, but I appreciate it."

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REACHING FOR THE SKY: Devereaux Peters and her Irish teammates were well aware that they would be playing against top-notch rebounding teams in Cal and Liberty in the opening rounds of the NCAA. In fact they were so much aware of it that much of the week's practice had been spent on rebounding drills.

Now despite her 14-rebound, 11-point, career-high 7-block performance against Cal, Peters knows what lies ahead. More rebounding drills. "We are still not where we need to be," she said. "I'm sure we will still have a lot of rebounding drills. It is something we have been struggling with all year. Tonight (against Cal) was a step in the right direction."

Notre Dame had a 40-35 advantage on the boards against the Golden Bears. hat step was accomplished against a tough and deep rebounding Cal team that had outrebounded Iowa, 41-29, just two days earlier.

"Cal's rebounders were very good," Peters said. "They were extremely athletic and very good posts. My guards helped me out a lot."

Teammate Skylar Diggins said Peters' performance was becoming the norm.

"Fourteen rebounds, that's just something that is regular now," Diggins said. "She has been stepping that up. The five assists, she's a good passer and she gets the ball and initiates the offense on the first pass. The seven blocks, I think that is crazy."

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AP sports writers Brett Martel, Rick Gano, Noah Trister and Joedy McCreary contributed to this report.