15 Mar

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Karen Aston: Naismith Coach of the Year Award Finalist

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas women's basketball head coach Karen Aston has been named one of four finalists nationally for the 2017 Naismith Women's College Coach of the Year award, it was announced Wednesday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

The four finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former Naismith Award winners and conference commissioners, who based their selections on outstanding coaching performances during the 2016-17 college basketball season.

This year, fans have a say in the overall voting process. Between March 20-31 fans can visit www.naismithtrophy.com/vote to cast their ballot for one of these four Naismith Award finalists. Voting ends at 10:59 p.m. CT on March 31 and fans are limited to one vote per day. The fan vote will account for five percent of the total vote.

The 2017 Naismith Women's Coach of the Year winner will be announced on April 1.

Aston is the 2017 Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year and has directed the Longhorns to a 23-8 overall record this season – including six wins against Associated Press Top-25 opponents. Texas finished second in the Big 12 Conference with a 15-3 mark in league play. That tied the school record for most Big 12 Conference victories in a single season in program history.

During the 2016-17 season, Texas put together a 19-game win streak which, at the time, was the nation's second-longest active win streak and tied for the 10th-longest win streak in program history. The Longhorns won 14 consecutive games to begin Big 12 Conference play, which marked the best start to Big 12 play in program history.

Under her direction this season, Brooke McCarty became the first player in UT school history to be named Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. Brianna Taylor earned Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year recognition and Joyner Holmes was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

Aston has compiled a 112-54 (.675) overall record in her five seasons on the Forty Acres and, earlier this season, became the second-winningest coach in program history behind Jody Conradt's 783 victories. Also this season, Aston recorded her 200th career win and has a 213-117 (.645) record in her 10 seasons as a collegiate head coach.

Aston has led Texas to four consecutive 20-plus-win seasons and four consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, including an NCAA Elite Eight appearance last season.

Aston and the third-seeded Longhorns begin NCAA Tournament play on Friday, playing host to 14th-seeded Central Arkansas on Friday. Tip-off at the Frank Erwin Center is slated for 1:30 p.m. CT and the game will be televised by ESPN2.

2017 NAISMITH COACH OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Karen Aston, Texas

Geno Auriemma, UConn
Scott Rueck, Oregon State
Vic Schaefer, Mississippi State