Cornell Women’s Basketball Staff Update

Emily Garner, the Rebecca Quinn Morgan ’60 Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at Cornell, has announced the completion of her inaugural coaching staff. Joining Colleen Corcoran to round out Garner’s coaching staff are Shannon Bush and LaSashia Connelly, who bring more than 20 years of Division I experience to the roster, arriving from Fresno State and Bucknell, respectively.

Bush, who joins the Big Red coaching staff as an associate head coach, spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach at Fresno State. She joined the Bulldogs prior to the 2017-18 season, where her coaching focus was working with point guards after spending her first two seasons with wings. She also served as the Bulldogs’ recruiting coordinator. 

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Shannon to Cornell as our Associate Head Coach,” Garner said. “A prolific recruiter and connector, she brings energy, creativity, and a wealth of experience to Cornell. She’ll no doubt be incredibly impactful in all areas of our program and will help us build a strong team culture centered around the holistic student-athlete experience. We’re incredibly excited for her to join the Big Red community.”

In 2019-20, her first year leading the guards, Bush’s group ranked first, third, and fourth on the team in scoring, combining to average more than half of the team’s scoring (37.6). Candice White led the Mountain West in scoring at 18.4 points per game en route to earning her second-straight All-Mountain West selection. The senior was also a semifinalist for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as one of the top 10 shooting guards in the country.

The following year, she aided the development of Haley Cavinder (16.0) and Hanna Cavinder (15.7) as the freshmen twins finished in the top four in scoring within the Mountain West. Both were named to the All-Mountain West and All-Freshman teams, becoming the first freshmen players since 2014 to be included on the All-Mountain West Team. They also were the first freshmen teammates to be placed on the team in the league’s history. Haley was awarded the conference’s Freshman of the Year, the program’s third player to earn the honor in Fresno State’s 50-plus-year history, and is one of two players in Mountain West history to be tabbed preseason and postseason Freshman of the Year. 

The development of the Cavinder twins continued in year two under Bush’s tutelage as both players saw increased numbers while maintaining their spots on the All-Mountain West Team. After averaging 20.6 points per game in conference play, the sixth-highest average in Mountain West history, Haley became the first sophomore to be named Mountain West Player of the Year since 2004. Haley also became the first player in conference history to win the award the year after being named Freshman of the Year.

Before arriving at Fresno State, Bush coached at upstate foe Siena, where she helped the Saints win 13 conference games for only the second time since 2003-04. The Saints received the No. 4 seed in the MAAC Tournament while tying for third in the standings, the highest seeding for the program since they also earned the four-seed in 2011.

She was an assistant coach at Vermont from 2010-15 and was instrumental in bringing in some of the top recruiting classes in Catamount history. Vermont boasted the America East’s top recruiting classes in both 2011 and 2012, with the 2012 class marking the first top-100-ranked recruiting class in program history. In all, Bush mentored four America East All-Rookie Team selections. 

Bush began her coaching career as an assistant at Sacred Heart from 2006-10, where she helped guide the Pioneers to 19-plus wins in each of her four seasons and 85 total victories. Sacred Heart won two Northeast Conference regular-season championships (2007, 2009) during her tenure, highlighted by the 2008-09 team going undefeated in conference play en route to winning the NEC Tournament championship and earn the conference’s automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. 

A native of Doylestown, Pa., Bush played collegiately at Holy Cross from 2002-06 where she appeared in 111 games. Bush was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie Team following the 2002-03 season and was named team captain prior to her senior year. During Bush’s four years, the Crusaders won 78 games, capturing Patriot League Championships and making NCAA Tournament appearances in both 2003 and 2005.

Connelly joins the Big Red after spending the previous three seasons on the Bucknell women’s basketball staff. She was elevated to assistant coach in year three after serving as the team’s manager of basketball operations for two seasons.

“Sashia is an incredible addition to our staff and program,” Garner said. “She is a driven and enthusiastic coach, and deeply committed to the holistic student-athlete experience. Her background as a relationship builder will enable her to dive in and create lasting relationships with both our current and future players, and we’re excited to welcome her into the Big Red family.”

She joined the Bison after serving as an assistant coach at Maine Maritime Academy for three seasons. She helped lead the Mariners to a 20-6 record and a North Atlantic Conference Championship Tournament appearance in her last season with the program.

Prior to her time with the Mariners, Connelly was an assistant coach and basketball operations manager at Lenoir-Rhyne in 2016-17. That season, Connelly helped coach the Bears defense that ranked eighth in the country in scoring defense and finished with an improved 17-12 record.

Before entering the collegiate coaching ranks, Connelly helped coach the girls’ basketball team at her alma mater, Jimmy C. Draughn High School, in Valdese, N.C.

At both of her previous stops, Connelly has served as a Student-Athlete Academic Committee advisor as well as an admissions counselor as Maine Maritime Academy.

A four-year member of the women’s basketball team at Salem College, Connelly won a Great South Atlantic Conference Championship in 2014 and made an appearance in the Division III NCAA Tournament. Connelly earned her bachelor’s degree in Sports and Exercise at Salem in 2014.

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