May 9, 2006
GREELEY, Colo. - University of Northern Colorado head women's basketball coach Jaime White announced the hiring of former University of Connecticut, Los Angeles Sparks and Cleveland Rockers standout Paige Sauer as assistant coach on Wednesday.
"Paige comes to us with a lot of experience as a player at the highest level of competition," White said. "She also brings a vast amount of experience with coaching post players. Paige is a great example of a successful student-athlete that will bring a lot of enthusiasm, dedication and focus in getting us to where we need to be in Division I."
As the Bears' top assistant, Sauer will be in charge of recruiting and post player development.
Sauer comes to Northern Colorado after spending three seasons as an assistant for Coach Dianne Nolan at Fairfield (Conn.), where she helped lead the Stags to a 23-35 record. Sauer was in charge of developing post players, while assisting with recruiting, scouting preparation and on-floor coaching. She was also active in the team's community relations efforts.
While at Fairfield, Sauer recruited Candice Lindsay, who was selected as the 2004-05 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year and was named to the all-rookie team. Sauer also recruited Sabra Wrice and Baendu Lowenthal, who both were named to the conference all-rookie team.
Before entering the coaching ranks, Sauer spent three years as a professional player. In 2003, she led Villeneuve d'Ascq in Lille, France, to the French Cup Championship game. In 2002, she played for Kookmin Bank in Chungcheongnam-Do, South Korea. Sauer began her professional career as the 31st overall pick for the Sparks in 2000. As a rookie, she was part of a team that qualified for the Western Conference Playoffs.
Sauer also played in the Canary Island (Spain) and was a member of Sopron Postas (Hungary), which advanced to the prestigious FIBA Ronchetti Cup Final Four.
She finished her WNBA career with the Rockers and helped them advance to the Eastern Conference finals in 2002.
At UConn, Sauer had a stellar career, captaining the Huskies to the 2000 National Championship and was a part of two Elite Eight teams (1997-98). UConn reached the Sweet Sixteen in 1999. She was part of four Big East Tournament championship teams and four Big East regular season titles. In 1998, she earned All-Big East third-team honors and was named to the East Regional All-Tournament team.
"It's going to be a great opportunity to work with Jaime White," Sauer said. "I think the athletic department and the University of Northern Colorado are committed to the development of a great women's basketball program. My goal as the recruiting coordinator is to bring in players that will win a Big Sky Conference championship."
Northern Colorado will join the Big Sky Conference next season and will play in the newly renovated Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. Although not eligible for the conference or NCAA tournaments, the Bears will be able to compete for a WNIT bid, either as an at-large selection or regular season champion. Northern Colorado beat its first Big Sky opponent since reclassifying to Division I with a 68-52 win on Jan. 4 over Weber State, who went on to play in the conference tournament championship game. The Bears also beat major conference opponents Illinois and Marquette last season.
White will continue to interview candidates and is expected to complete her staff within the next few weeks.