Thursday, May 30, 2019

"Princeton Is Going To Love Her"

The first thing you notice about Carla Berube's bio is that she has won an awful lot of basketball games in her lifetime.

In her 17 seasons as the head at Tufts, she went 384-96. That's exactly 80 percent.

In the history of Division III women's basketball, that's top 10 all-time in winning percentage. It's even better in the last seven years, when her teams have gone 197-24, which is 89.1 percent.

And that's nothing compared to when she was a college player.

In her four years at the University of Connecticut, Berube's teams were a combined 132-8, for a winning percentage of .942. As a sophomore she averaged 8.5 points per game on a team that went 35-0 en route to the NCAA championship.

She finished her career at UConn with 1,381 career points. 

If you add together her record as a player at UConn and head coach at Tufts, it comes to 516 wins and 104 losses. That's amazing.

That's winning better than 83 percent of the time over the course of 620 games. How many others can say that?

That's the record that Berube brings with her to Princeton, as she was announced yesterday as the new head coach of women's basketball here. When she gets to win No. 400 it'll be in orange and black.

Her resume at Tufts includes two NCAA championship games, four Final Fours and nine Sweet 16s, including each of the last eight years. Competing in the ultra-competitive NESCAC, she has won three league championships, including this past season, when the Jumbos went 28-3 and reached the Elite Eight.

She's also been a three-time Regional Coach of the Year and in 2015 won the Pat Summitt Trophy as the Division III Coach of the Year. She's also been the NESCAC Coach of the Year four times.

So that's her resume.

But what about who she is? Who better to ask than her college coach, Geno Auriemma?

If you think winning 80 percent of your games is impressive, Auriemma's record is ridiculous - to the tune of 1,062-139, or a .884 percentage. He's 122-20 in NCAA tournament games alone, which is a .859 run.

TigerBlog caught up with Auriemma yesterday morning to ask him about his former player. He couldn't say enough good things about her.

“When she talked to me about the Princeton opportunity," he said, "I thought it was 100 percent the right place for her and that she’s 100 percent the right person for Princeton. You can’t have a better fit. I’ve talked to her in the past about what the future holds for her, and she’s always said she’s really happy at Tufts, that she loved the kinds of kids she was coaching there. I always thought that if she did leave, it would be for a place that had the same values that she has. Princeton is going to love her. She’s terrific.”
That's pretty glowing. It also aligns really well with what TB thought about her from his brief conversation with her as well.

He also had this to say:
"When I think of Carla as a player, she just had this real quiet demeanor about her. She was really unfazed by the pressures of the game, and the game never seemed too fast for her. She had a maturity about her from the very first practice she had."

It got a little more interesting from there.

"Because she didn’t say a lot, I never envisioned that she’d become a coach," says the man who has led UConn to 11 NCAA titles. "It was actually a real surprise to me when she got into coaching. The more I thought about it and the more I watched her work, though, she brought that same quiet intensity and measured focus and is a great communicator. To watch her all these years and see how much success she’s had and the way she’s done it, she’s really impressive. The way she carries herself and the way she handles her team, players and program - it's really fun to watch."

Again, those are very impressive words.

Berube wore No. 31 at UConn as a player. She will be taking over a team led by Princeton's No. 31, Bella Alarie, the two-time Ivy League Player of the Year who also has international experience with USA Basketball and is gaining more in August at the Pan Am Games. 

Princeton also has back first-team All-Ivy selection Carlie Littlefield and a lineup of experienced players. 

It's an exciting time for Princeton women's basketball, that's for sure. 

So welcome to Princeton, Carla Berube. 

TB speaks for the entire Princeton Athletic family when he says he hopes your stay is a long, successful one.

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