Coach Aston off to fast start filling out coaching staff, securing player transfers


Julia Maenius

Women’s head basketball coach Karen Aston answers questions from the media during her introductory press conference last month. Aston has wasted no time in filling out her coaching staff and shaping the program in her image.

Eddie Sanchez, Staff Writer

It was not long ago that coach Karen Aston was called upon to lead UTSA women’s basketball. We know what she brings to the program and many have high hopes. While the basketball season for the women is over, the team can look forward to beginning the fun with Coach Aston and company. Changing a team’s total dynamic and identity doesn’t happen overnight. Most individuals will tell you the next season starts right as the last one ends. The offseason is the most meaningful time of the year to restructure, and coach Aston hasn’t shied away from doing so in her brief time with the ‘Runners. Coach Aston has been busy and made multiple moves, including bringing in new staff and players. Let’s take a closer look at the decisions made in the past couple of weeks.

Joining alongside Aston in coaching responsibilities will be newly acquired Associate Head Coach Jamie Carey, Assistant Coach Cameron Miles and Recruiting Coordinator Empress Davenport. Carey comes with great experience for this team, especially having worked with coach Aston previously, which will instantly help with team chemistry and getting on track early. As expected, Carey is thrilled to get started, saying “This is an opportunity I’m most appreciative of and can’t wait to get to campus, meet the team, and get to work!”

Miles comes from a basketball family and has experience being the director of operations and assistant coach. While he may have spent the last two seasons with the College of Charleston, Miles helped Lamar University reach successful heights in his time there as an assistant coach. Like everyone else, Miles is overjoyed and ready for the opportunity stating, “I’m excited to get started and build with the staff and players.”

Like the Aston and Carey connection, Davenport comes with related experience in association with Miles. The pair helped the Lamar University Cardinals have a historic season in 2018-2019. She also had multiple players earn all-conference during her time there. She comes with high praise to Aston stating, “I have always had the utmost respect for coaches who bring in their former players to coach, but Karen is on another level.”

Various player signings will also play a major role in the offseason, especially with a boosted coaching staff early. Aston announced player recruits Hailey Atwood, Queen Ulabo, Elyssa Coleman and Ndeye Ciss will be joining the ‘Runners for the upcoming season..

The first addition, Hailey Atwood, transfers to the ‘Runners after spending the last two seasons at Blinn College. Atwood was a high-scoring offensive threat last year, averaging 18 points and seven rebounds a game. She’s had multiple games where she’s scored over 20 points, and she has a career-high of 34 points. Coach Aston is thrilled to add Atwood, and is undoubtedly not the only one eager to see her shine.

Ulabo brings more offense to the team. In her two years with the Barton Community College Cougars, Ulabo put together 824 points, averaging almost 14 points a game. The versatile forward had multiple double-doubles in her time there and was first-team all-conference.

Coleman comes from coach Aston’s former team. She was part of an All-State Team and District 22-6A Most Valuable Player. The No. 12 forward of the 2020 class brings near 11 points and eight rebounds a game. Coach Aston stated her respect by commenting, “I know the quality of her work and her integrity as a person.” Ciss is a Gulf Coast State transfer. She averaged seven points and five rebounds last season with the Commodores.

It may be too early to speculate, but Aston is on a mission, and it shows. With all these acquisitions made in a short amount of time, the winning culture we all expect is starting to form right before our eyes. The winds of change are now blowing for UTSA women’s basketball.