New coach leading Chartiers Valley girls basketball into battle
Chartiers Valley's new girls basketball coach might not have the most coaching experience, but the playing experience she brings is high-quality.
Ashley Battle was named the coach of the Colts last week.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to get back in the game and get my footing coaching,” Battle said.
Battle is a Pittsburgh native who played her high school ball at The Linsly School in Wheeling.
She was a highly recruited player out of high school and committed to UConn.
After suffering an injury her freshman season in 2000-01 and taking a redshirt, Battle was part of a dominant streak by the Huskies.
During her time with the Huskies from 2001 to 2005, the team won three national titles and reached another Sweet Sixteen.
She received Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2003.
“I definitely learned how to win and overcome adversity,” Battle said. “Practice could be more difficult than a game. We learned how to transition that onto the court, and it led to us doing some real special things.”
She was selected 25th in the 2005 WNBA draft by the Seattle Storm and had a six-year career that also made stops with the New York Liberty and the San Antonio Silver Stars.
During her time playing in the WNBA, she also played internationally with teams in Spain, Turkey and Abu Dhabi.
“It was nice to get drafted and reach the pinnacle of my sport,” Battle said. “It was nice to play in the Untied States in front of my friends and family. But it was also great to travel overseas and learn about different cultures and learning their languages. I have always been a history fan, and I got to see different historic places in the Middle East.”
Battle moved back to Pittsburgh a year ago and works for Fifth Third Bank.
“My family is here,” Battle said. “I was always fond of the area.”
Battle said she plans to hold open gyms throughout the summer to get to better know her players.
She also would like to attend games of players participating in other sports during the summer.
“I want them to understand I am their coach and support them,” Battle said. “I want to support them in whatever they do — not just basketball but academically and other sports.”
Battle replaces Spencer Stefko, who compiled a 137-51 record over seven seasons with the Colts. He led Chartiers Valley to its first WPIAL title game this past season and third appearance in the PIAA semifinals in the past four years.
Stefko since has been named the girls basketball coach at Seton-La Salle.
While the expectations will be high for battle heading into her first coaching position, she likes that the players know how to win.
“Its nice to have kids that have had a taste of success,” Battle said. “I know they want to do well. My job is to cultivate that. I want them to want more, and I want to help them reach those goals.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.