NCCU Women’s Basketball Adds WNBA Veteran to Coaching Staff
DURHAM, N.C. — North Carolina Central University third-year head women’s basketball coach Trisha Stafford-Odom has announced the appointment of WNBA player and local collegiate standout Erlana Larkins as an assistant coach for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
Larkins, who just concluded her ninth year in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), returns to The Triangle after playing collegiately at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She will be working primarily with NCCU’s post players.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Erlana to this world of collegiate coaching and shaping of basketball minds,” said Stafford-Odom. “She is a seasoned and highly-regarded basketball intellect, eager to unload loads of wisdom on our impressionable players. Her meticulous and physically demanding approach to hard work is inspiring. Each of her past levels of success rival the pristine work ethic and discipline I expect of my team. Erlana has a strong mind for the intricacies of the game. I am excited about her presence and confident she will infuse her knowledge in a manner that adds to the success of our interior play.”
Larkins played six seasons with the Indiana Fever and became a WNBA champion in 2012. Larkins also made the Finals in 2015 and participated in the playoffs a total of six years between her tenure with three teams that included the Fever, New York Liberty and Minnesota Lynx.
In her best season as a pro, the 6-1 forward averaged a career-best 9.7 points per game on 59.9-percent shooting and a career-high 9.7 rebounds per game in 2014 with the Fever. She led the league with a 59.9-percent clip as well as ranking third in the WNBA with 1.94 steals per game and was fourth in rebounding. Larkins’ 14 double-figure rebounding games were the most in a single-season in Indiana history. Her 303 total rebounds were also a Fever franchise record.
As a pro, Larkins has played in 247 career regular season games in the WNBA and averaged 5.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Her 55.7% career field goal percentage is ranked fifth best in WNBA history. She has also played in 37 WNBA postseason contests.
Larkins becomes the third coach on the NCCU women’s basketball staff who has played in the WNBA, joining Stafford-Odom and third-year assistant Tynesha Lewis.
The West Palm Beach, Florida, native was a four-time Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament champion for the Tar Heels. Larkins was selected All-ACC all four years and was a State Farm and USBWA All-America honoree as a senior in 2008, leading Carolina to the Elite Eight. She finished her collegiate playing career averaging 13.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.1 steals and 0.8 blocks per game for the Tar Heels. She finished just shy of 2,000 points (1,927) while tallying over 1,000 rebounds (1,173) and making over half of her shot attempts (56.7%).
Larkins was drafted by New York in the first round (14th overall) of the 2008 WNBA Draft. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from UNC in African and Afro-American Studies.