UCLA's Close Named Top-15 Finalist for Naismith Coach of the Year

The Michael Price Family UCLA Women's Head Basketball Coach Cori Close has been named to the late season watch list for the Werner Ladder Naismith Women's Coach of the Year award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Tuesday.

Close was one of 15 head coaches to be named a top-15 finalist for women's coach of the year recognition. She joined Arizona's Adia Barnes and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer among the Pac-12's honorees, as the Pac-12 tied for the most coaches on the list with the Big Ten and SEC.

Close has led the Bruins to a 12-3 overall record and 10-3 mark in Pac-12 play this season. It's the Bruins' sixth-straight season with at least 10 wins in Conference play. Among UCLA's victories this season are three wins against ranked opponents, including a road 73-71 victory over then-No. 7 Oregon that snapped the Ducks' 27-game winning-streak (Jan. 3). The win over Oregon also extended the Bruins' streak of defeating a top-10 opponent in each of the last six years. Close also led UCLA to a victory over then-No. 5 Stanford, knocking off the Cardinal, 70-66, in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Close, who is in her 10th year at the helm of UCLA's program, made history earlier in the season, as the Bruins' road victory against Arizona State (Dec. 9) marked her 200th-career win. She became only the third coach in program history to achieve the milestone, following Billie Moore (296-181) and Kathy Olivier (232-208). Close currently boasts a 210-107 record and her .662 winning percentage ranks highest among those in the program's 200-win club.

Werner Ladder Naismith Women's Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List

Geno Auriemma, UConn

Adia Barnes, Arizona

Kim Barnes Arico, Michigan

Gary Blair, Texas A&M

Mike Cary, West Virginia

Cori Close, UCLA

Jose Fernandez, USF

Brenda Frese, Maryland

Aaron Johnston, South Dakota State

Kevin McGruff, Ohio State

Wes Moore, North Carolina State

Dawn Staley, South Carolina

Tara VanDerveer, Stanford

Jeff Walz, Louisville


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