Head Women's Basketball Coach
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Semeka Randall is in her second season as the head coach of the women's basketball team.
Hired in May 2013, Randall, a 2000 Tennessee graduate, led the Lady Bulldogs to a 6-23 mark in the 2013-14 season. She spent the previous five seasons at the helm of the Ohio University program.
In the 2012-13 season, Randell guided Ohio in fifth place in the Mid-American Conference, before falling to Miami of Ohio in the Mid-American tournament in the first round.
From 2009-10 to 2010-11, growth and improvement are words that can define the Bobcats under Randall’s tutelage. Ohio showed a one-game improvement in the win column, and notched its second win in three seasons in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The Bobcats traveled to DeKalb, Ill., and posted a 72-56 victory over the Northern Illinois Huskies. The win helped Ohio advance to Cleveland where it fell to eventual conference champion Bowling Green in the quarterfinals at Quicken Loans Arena.
Under Randall’s watch, Ohio marked tremendous improvement at the free throw line in 2010-11. The Bobcats got to the charity stripe 587 times during the season and hit 401 attempts, both program-best marks in Randall’s three seasons in Athens.
Her six-player recruiting class for the 2011-12 season was ranked 60th in the country according to the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, and includes Parade Magazine All-America Team member Mariah Byard. Byard is one of just 40 players who was recognized by Parade Magazine.
The 2011-12 season was one of the best ones in recent memory, as Ohio posted a 14-18 mark (6-10 MAC) and hosted a game, which it won, in the opening round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The Bobcats went 12-5 at home, their best record in The Convocation Center since 1985-86 and beat MAC rival Bowling Green in Athens, something which hadn’t been achieved in a decade. Ohio made 145 three-point field goals during the season, a single-season mark which ranks eighth all-time in program history. The Bobcats also continued the up-tempo defense which has been Randall’s trademark, generating 320 steals (second all-time).
Randall has already left her mark on the Bobcats since her introduction as the head coach in 2008. Ohio has become one of the top defensive squads in the Mid-American Conference and established itself as a gritty and determined squad with a fighting attitude. That grit can be highlighted by a commitment to rebounding. Since 2008, Randall’s Ohio teams have posted a positive rebounding margin each season. This makes the Bobcats one of two teams in the MAC to outrebound its opponents each of the last three years.
Under her guidance, three players have garnered four All-MAC honors in the past three years. Guard Jennifer Bushby captured her second all-conference nod in 2009-10, while forward Kamille Buckner shattered the school’s all-time blocks record and finished second in MAC history with 199 career blocks. Bushby also became just the second player in program history to surpass 1,000 career points, 300 career assists and 300 career steals last season. Following the 2011-12 season, senior guard Tenishia Benson was named to the All-MAC First Team.
Inheriting a young team and perhaps the most challenging schedule in the program’s history in her first year, Randall treated the potentially-intimidating situation like any other challenge she had during her career. She attacked it head on with grit, determination and a fighting attitude. All of which rubbed off onto her pupils during the season. The `Cats took on such programs as Syracuse, Clemson, South Carolina and nationally-ranked teams Florida and Bowling Green, and battled each of them right down to the very last second, serving notice that the `Cats were indeed ready to carry on the strong tradition of success that had been set at Ohio.
Under Randall’s tutelage in year one, the `Cats established themselves as a strong defensive unit, ranking second in the MAC in scoring defense and blocked shots, and first in field goal percentage defense and rebounding defense. Ohio also led the conference in shooting on the year. Individually, Lauren Hmiel and Bushby were both named to All-MAC teams under her watch. She also saw Bushby lead the conference in assists and Buckner shatter the school’s single-season blocks record while also leading the league in the category. Randall didn’t waste any time in showing her ability on the recruiting trails either as the `Cats landed the second-best recruiting class in the MAC, building even more excitement for the future of the program.
The former Tennessee All-American and four-year WNBA veteran was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame on May 17, 2008. She started at Ohio University on May 9, 2008, after spending a year as an assistant coach at West Virginia.
Prior to that, Randall was an assistant coach at Michigan State from 2005-07. During her tenure at MSU, the Spartans played for the national championship in 2005, advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2006 and made it to the NCAA second round in 2007. Randall served as an assistant coach at Cleveland State from 2002-03.
A standout guard for the Lady Vols from 1998-2001, Randall earned Kodak All-America First Team honors in 1999 and 2000. She was an integral part of Tennessee’s 1998 NCAA Championship team that went 39-0, averaging 15.9 points a game while earning honorable mention All-America recognition.
In addition to her All-America honors, she was named Women’s Basketball Journal’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1999 and 2000, first-team All-Southeastern Conference in 1999 and 2000, second-team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman Team in 1998, and was on the NCAA Mideast Regional All-Tournament team in 1998 and 2000.
Randall scored 1,915 points during her career at Tennessee (13.7 ppg) and added 716 rebounds (5.1 rpg), 286 steals and 236 assists. She ranks fifth on the Lady Vols’ career charts in both points and steals, and third in free throws made (439). Tennessee posted a record of 134-10 during her four-year career, including championship appearances in 1998 and 2000. During the summer of 1998, Randall was the leading scorer for the gold medal-winning USA Jones Cup team.
Randall was the first player chosen in the second round (17th overall) of the 2001 WNBA draft by the Seattle Storm. She started 30 of 32 games as a rookie, averaging a career-best 9.4 points. She averaged 5.8 points during her 123-game WNBA career, including 55 starts.
In 2001-02, Randall started all 16 games at point guard and averaged 19 points while playing for the Israeli Professional Basketball League. She played in the Greek Professional Basketball League in 2002-03, again starting all 16 games for her squad. In 2003, she was a member of the Tennessee Fury of the National Women’s Basketball League, averaging 12.2 points as a shooting guard.
In 2004, she completed her four-year WNBA career which included stops in Seattle (2001-02), Utah (2002) and San Antonio (2003-04).
Prior to her exemplary playing career at Tennessee and in the professional ranks, Randall was an accomplished basketball player in high school. She was Parade Magazine’s Player of the Year and a first-team All-American in 1997 while starring at Trinity High School in Garfield Heights, Ohio. She was Ohio’s Miss Basketball in 1996 and 1997, a member of the 1996 and 1997 USA Junior World Championship Qualifying Teams, the MVP of the Ohio state basketball tournament in 1994 and 1996 and the Gatorade Circle of Champions Midwest Player of the Year in 1997.
Randall graduated from Tennessee in December 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communications.