Walker - 'Huffman deserves another national title,' commitment


Alison Stephens called the DePauw women's basketball team a family.
The junior said it was cliché, and she's not the first to make the claim.
But what does that make head coach Kris Huffman?
"Huffman is our mother, our caretaker, our motivator, our someone you want to laugh with," Stephens said. "[Kathleen] Molloy said this, but you'd never want to get caught rolling your eyes at her."
There's a certain amount of respect, admiration and amicable feelings between Huffman and her players. The result thus far is a 32-0 record, and a NCAA Division III semifinal appearance against Williams College on Friday evening. For Huffman, this is her third trip to the semifinals, the other two times were in 2002 and 2007. DePauw's coach - in her 20th season - is vying for her second national title.
The list of accomplishments for the University of Northern Iowa graduate in staggering: a 462-102 overall record, a two-time National Coach of the Year, 11-time conference coach of the year and an Iowa and to-be-Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.
But the accomplishes aren't what players see. They see possibly the most dedicated and committed coach they've ever had.
"It's not just a coach at this point, it's someone I respect more that anyone else," Kate Walker, a senior, said. "Going in with her makes me more confident in this team. She's someone who deserves more national championships than she has earned thus far, and hopefully we can bring that home to her."
Walker has started every game for Huffman at point guard, and last Saturday claimed the record for the most games started in DePauw history at 120.
"She talks about how hard we work but in reality the amount of work coach Huffman puts in to this is unreal," Walker said. "I've never seen a coach more committed to her team than coach Huffman. I want to do it for the team and I want to do it for me, but I want to do it for her as well."
That sense of playing for Huffman is evident during timeouts even with a lead of more than 20. During many contests with all starters out in the fourth quarter, the lead more often than not balloons to greater reaches.
"I like that, and they play possession-for-possession," Huffman said. "When we had a lead they made it look like we were down 10. They give that type of effort.This team is special."
The perfect record is something that players and Huffman are both surprised by. Huffman said with the tough non-conference schedule that included four ranked teams in the first month, it was just a dream to be at this point in the NCAA tournament undefeated.