“I think we were one of the four best teams [at the nationals].”
McKinley also praised the play of all four Texas teams, which included Blinn and Midland. All advanced to the round of 16. Blinn, in fact, reached the Elite Eight before losing to TVCC.
“I think all of the teams from Texas did great and represented us well,” he said. “I wish we weren’t all in the same bracket.”
McKinley said the focus has now shifted to next season and making a repeat appearance at nationals, something that hasn’t happened at the school since 1977-78.
The Lady Coyotes have made six national tournament appearances in their history, four with McKinley as coach.
“We were already focusing on next season before we even left,” he said. “This has definitely got to help with recruiting.”
The Lady Coyotes featured six freshmen on their roster. The list is led by Bre Brooks, who topped the conference in scoring (17 points per game) and assists (7.6), while being second in steals (2.6) on her way to winning NTJCAC Player of the Year honors. Also, Itiana Taylor (or I.T.) led the league in rebounds (10.7) and was fourth in scoring (14.4) while garnering first-team accolades.
“That is one heck of a duo to build around for next season,” said McKinley.
Other freshmen are Brooke Rice, Toma Zaleckaite, Kaylee Brooks, and Delaney Wolf.
With this season’s team, McKinley’s career record is 836-393. He also won his 10th NTJCAC Coach of the Year award.
“This was a special season,” he said. “Very special.”