Title: Head Coach
Experience: Fourth Season
Alma Mater: Oregon, 2002
Bio: Head coach Jamie Craighead is in her fourth season at the helm of the Sacramento State women’s basketball program. The young coach has turned the Hornets into one of the most explosive teams in the nation as her fast break, uptempo offense led the Big Sky Conference in scoring the last three seasons.
Craighead’s fast-paced style is based on the press and run - playing full-court defense to create turnovers that result in open shots and quick baskets. Sacramento State forced a conference-best 401 steals last season, almost 13 per game.
The shot clock is not needed in Craighead’s system as she encourages her team to hoist shots early and often. An important part of a team that takes quick shots is rebounding ability. The Hornets ranked No. 1 in the conference in rebounding each of Craighead’s first three seasons as head coach and averaged 41.4 boards per game in 2011-12.
Last season Craighead guided the Hornets to their fifth appearance in the Big Sky Tournament in program history. But more importantly, Craighead and the Hornets won a game in the tournament for the first time in school history when they upset Eastern Washington, 71-61, in the quarterfinals. Sacramento State won four straight games to close out the regular season led by guard Alle Moreno, who averaged a team-best 15.8 points per game in Big Sky play. While Moreno was lighting it up from the perimeter, forward Kylie Kuhns anchored the middle and led the league in rebounds for the second straight year while ranking No. 3 in the NCAA with 21 double-doubles. Craighead also molded local product Fantasia Hilliard (Sacramento HS) into the Big Sky Freshman of the Year last season, as the first-year point guard became the fifth player in school history to dish out 150 assists.
In 2010-11, Craighead gave major minutes to five freshmen and three sophomores as the Hornets had to rebuild following the successful 2009-10 campaign. The development of young players was most obvious with then-sophomore Kuhns, who was a revelation during a trying season. Kuhns ranked No. 1 in the Big Sky Conference and No. 12 in the nation in rebounds, averaging 11.1 boards per game, and she set the single-game school record with 23 rebounds against San Francisco. The Salem, Ore. native also ranked No. 3 in the Big Sky Conference in scoring (15.9), No. 2 in field goal percentage (.497) and No. 3 in blocks (1.2 per game).
In 2009-10, her first full season as head coach, Craighead led the Hornets to a 15-15 overall record and 10-6 mark in Big Sky Conference play - the most league wins in school history.
Craighead helped turn seniors Charday Hunt and Erika Edwards into arguably the conference’s top 1-2 scoring punch that season. Hunt and Edwards combined to average 28.5 points per game and knocked down 121 3-point baskets. Hunt earned first-team all-Big Sky Conference honors for her efforts while Edwards was named second team all-conference. It was the first time in school history that Sacramento State placed a player on both the all-league first and second teams in the same season.
Craighead was named the Hornets’ head coach on May 1, 2009, and was the youngest Division I head coach in her first season. She spent the 2007-08 season as the team’s top assistant, before being promoted to associate head coach by former head coach Dan Muscatell in the summer of 2008.
Prior to her time in the Green and Gold, Craighead spent two years as an assistant at Portland State. She served as the Vikings’ recruiting coordinator and also worked with the post players.
Before she coached at Portland State, Craighead was an assistant at Div. II powerhouse Seattle Pacific under the guidance of two-time NCAA Division II Coach of the Year Gordy Presnell. Craighead served as Presnell’s top assistant for two seasons, and coached Seattle Pacific to a 99-75 win over Alaska Fairbanks on Dec. 4, 2004, while Presnell was on leave. Seattle Pacific finished the 2004-05 season ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Craighead played collegiately at the University of Oregon, helping the Ducks to three NCAA Tournament appearances in her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons before she led the Ducks to the 2002 WNIT championship as a senior. She finished her career second on the school’s career list for 3-point field goals with 182 and ranked No. 7 in 3-point field goal percentage at 36.9 percent.
Craighead was an honorable mention academic all-Pac 10 selection in 2002. She graduated from Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in educational studies.
A native of Elma, Wash., Craighead attended Elma High School, where she was the Washington 2A Player of the Year and a four-time all-league selection. She finished her career setting school records for points (1,669), assists (653), steals (405) and blocked shots (168).
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