So Many Wins, So Little Time
Dec. 5, 2008
By Adam Kiefaber
CINCINNATI - With this Tuesday's win over the University of Kentucky, Kevin McGuff became Xavier women's basketball's all-time winningest coach. For him, it was business as usual, mentioning afterwards that the win was "important" for his team and that he was "happy for our players that we could win it."
If the record ever sets in, McGuff will undoubtedly be too busy too celebrate it.
So far this season, the XU women have already played eight games in 19 days.
Following Tuesday's win, the team rested on Wednesday but was back at practice on Thursday before its Friday match-up with Akron. Then there will be another quick turnaround as the team is scheduled to play rival Cincinnati on Sunday at 2 p.m.
The coach appreciates the game experience for his players, but is looking forward to more practice time.
"I really believe our team is its best when it is challenged, that is why we put [the schedule] together that way. I am excited though as we move forward, because we are going to have more time to practice," McGuff said. "I love the opportunity in the games that we have, but I am just looking forward to a little more practice time so we can continue to improve as a team."
Since taking over the program in June of 2002, McGuff has constantly been improving the women's program. In his first season, he helped turn around a 12-19 team to 20-10 team. He led that XU squad to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002-2003 and then followed that up with three WNIT appearances in seasons '03-04, '04-05 and `05-06 before winning back-to-back Atlantic 10 titles the past two seasons.
McGuff admitted that there was an adjustment period during that WNIT period for his team because the type of player that he wanted for his system was different than the type of players that were already in place.
"We had an adjustment there for a few years, but I was fortunate to inherit a bunch of great kids and as we added our own players, it really seemed to fit together and we were able to continue to have success along the way," McGuff said.
The players that McGuff inherited were from Melanie Balcomb's tenure, who was the previous record holder for school with 136 wins. Balcomb's six seasons as Xavier's head coach was instrumental in helping the improvement of the program.
"Melanie really did a terrific job elevating this program," McGuff said. "I was really happy for her to get an opportunity to move on and create a great situation for me. I am just excited that we were able to build on her success."
As McGuff continues to build on that success and increase his win total, the Hamilton native is appreciative of the opportunity to work for a program that truly cares about winning.
"Xavier is a great place to work and what really excites me is the commitment we have here to women's basketball. We have a very supportive administration and I really believe that is key to having a successful program."
Currently, XU is 6-2 and No. 23 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Both of the team's losses were to top-ranked opponents in No. 13 Louisville and No. 2 North Carolina.
Friday's opponent, Akron, has a 2-4 record with wins over Troy and Michigan.
The Zips are led by sophomore forward Kara Murphy, who is averaging 17.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest. Her father, Mark, played 11 seasons for the Green Bay Packers as a defensive back.
Another player to look for is 6-foot-3 center Kyle Baumgartner, who scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the upset win over Michigan. Baumgartner played her high school ball at North Canton Hoover in Ohio, but also lived in Michigan, Massachusetts, Georgia and China.
Tip-off on Friday will be at 7 p.m. in the Cintas Center.