Tag Archives: Lyndsie Long

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From court to sidelines

High school, collegiate star athlete takes head coaching job
DOWNERS GROVE—Several weeks ago, Lyndsie Long originally set out to apply for an open position in the Downers Grove South High School physical education (PE) department.

Not only did the former Kaneland High School star and Elmhurst College Division III All-American interview for, and land, that opening, she fulfilled another career goal shortly thereafter: becoming a varsity head coach.

Long, the all-time leading scorer in Elmhurst College women’s basketball and No. 2 all-time at Kaneland, was recently named head coach of the Mustangs. The Sugar Grove resident succeeds longtime coach Ellen O’Brien, who stepped down to take over as the school’s assistant athletic director.

“I’m so thankful for everything that’s fallen into place for me,” said Long, who was getting to know the DGS girls program and its players—from incoming freshmen to varsity—at a camp held on campus last week. “This was like my dream come true.”

Randy Konstans, the Downers South athletic director, contacted Long a week after she joined the PE staff, and asked her if she was interested in interviewing for the head coaching position. Long responded enthusiastically.

“Of course,” she said.

Long interviewed with Konstans and O’Brien, who, in addition to being the girls coach at DGS, was inducted into the Downers South athletic Hall of Fame in 2012 as a three-sport athlete (basketball, volleyball and softball).

Long badly wanted the job, but prepared herself if she didn’t get it.

“What I kept telling myself was to just be patient, and if it didn’t work out, there’s a plan for me in the making,” she said. “Just getting the PE job was my main concern, and this on top, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Konstans said Long being only three years removed from Elmhurst College was not a factor in his decision-making. He said Long got glowing reviews from coworkers at York High School in Elmhurst, where she was a special education assistant and coached the York girls sophomores last season to a 25-2 record.

“I think for me, more than anything else, when you sit and talk to a person, you do get a feel,” Konstans said. “That hour-long chat has to be coupled with the recommendations from those co-workers she’s had in the past. I must have talked to a half-dozen people at York who just say nothing but great things about her and her work ethic, her knowledge of the game, her ability to work with people.”

Prior to coaching at York, Long spent a year as an assistant at St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, Ind., and also coached for a year at Concordia University.

“You’re never ready,” Konstans said. “That’s the one thing I’ve learned over the years: Where you think you’re not ready, or you’re (not) experienced enough and ‘I’m ready for my own program.’ You’re just never ready to be a head coach, so you’ve just got to take that plunge. It’s desire more than anything else, and I think she has great desire and great enthusiasm and has a great basketball resume.”

Long 2Impressive resume
As a junior at Kaneland during the 2004-05 season, Long helped the Knights advance to a Class AA sectional championship game against Naperville Central. That took place three years before the IHSA went to a four-class system for basketball and one year after Naperville Central all-American and U.S. Olympian Candace Parker—the 2008 WNBA Rookie of the Year and league MVP—had graduated.

Even minus Parker, Naperville Central had a formidable team, and the Redhawks ended up defeating the Knights 61-48, despite Kaneland mounting a double-digit lead at one point.

“That was probably the best experience, playing in that type of atmosphere with so many people there,” Long said. “Those (years at Kaneland) were the funnest four years for me. I think I was playing with some of my best friends that I’m still really close to. We knew how to play with each other, and we knew our strengths and weaknesses. It was just fun. Back then, we were going up against some huge schools in the regionals. I think we held our own and we proved to people that we’re from a small school, but we can hang with the best.”

Long went from being a four-year starter at Kaneland to being a four-year starter at Elmhurst College. She was a four-time first-team all-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin selection, and was named to two Division III All-American squads her senior year.

Long, who led the CCIW in scoring as a senior (26.1-point average), holds numerous scoring records at Elmhurst, including finishing as its all-time leading scorer (1,866 points) and all-time leader in three-pointers (170). She also holds records for most points in a game (45), most three-pointers in a game (eight), most three-pointers in a season (74), the best free-throw percentage for a season (89.3), the best three-point field goal percentage for a career (38.8) and the top career free throw percentage mark (84.2).

Switching gears
At Downers South, Long plans to take her new squad in a different direction offensively for the 2013-14 season.

“The offense is totally different from what they’ve been used to,” she said. “Just the coaching style is different in respect to I’m totally new. There will be a lot of screening, learning to read the defense and getting open that way and not always having a set that the other team can scout.”

But defense will be emphasized even more.

“I’m really defense oriented,” Long said. “Defense is going to win games, so if we’re all communicating and we’re helping each other out, that’s going to put us in a good position to get some stops.”

Long concluded her first week at camp with 40 girls in the gym last week. She likes what she sees in the way of talent at every level.

“This week has been great,” she said. “We have varsity players that have been in the program three or four years now so I’m just making it known to them that I’m here to mentor them and to be a good basketball program and just coaching them the best I can.

“The girls have responded well to the changes, and I’ve only heard positive feedback, so it’s a step in the right direction. There are a few freshmen that have stood out a lot to all the coaches. They’re already playing with the sophomores right now. It’s really, really good to see. The sophomore level has some good talent; we just need to learn to play together more and learn to get stronger.”

Long said she’ll keep building on what O’Brien has established once she gets situated in her new role.

“Instead of 40 girls being in the gym, I want 90 girls,” she said. “I think just getting a good year under our belts and people seeing that and hopefully we can get some more contributors.

“Ellen’s been here 20 years, so it’s a totally different change for everybody, just trying to get all of the coaching staff on board and believing in what we’re trying to do.

“We want to get all of the girls happy and excited to be in the program every day. And that’s how you end up winning games. You want to be there, you’re having fun, you’re playing together and you’re enjoying it.”

Go LONG—KHS grad sets Elmhurst record

by Mike Slodki
NAPERVILLE—The journey to the top is over.

Kaneland High School 2006 graduate Lyndsie Long of Sugar Grove made Elmhurst College women’s basketball history on Tuesday night at Merner Fieldhouse in Naperville, scoring a team-high 18 points in a 79-67 win at North Central College and becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer.

“I always had a goal to be the all-time leading scorer at Kaneland, too, and it didn’t happen,” Long said. “This started freshman year, and I kept it in the back of my head, and now I finally did it.”

Fans with sign
Several well-wishers of Lyndsie Long had a finished product to their countdown in the Merner Fieldhouse bleachers at NCC on Tuesday. Photo by Mike Slodki

A senior, Long was 11 points away coming into the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) contest.

Long has amassed 1,788 points, eclipsing Karen Kinsella’s mark of 1,780.

The record-breaking basket came two minutes into the second half on an offensive putback, only after a couple of missed foul shots and field goal attempts that left her tied with the record going into the halftime break.

“I was like, ‘this can’t be happening’,” Long said. “I was trying not to be nervous, and of course you’re going to be because you know it’s right there in your hands. I was stuck on 10 for awhile, and I wanted to get it so I didn’t have to worry about it.”

Elmhurst, with the win, improved to 16-8 (9-4 CCIW) and secured a berth in the postseason tournament.

Long, now averaging 24.1 points per game, drove through more noteworthy roadblocks on her way to college basketball history in the games leading up to Tuesday.

In a 75-68 win over North Park University on Saturday, Long scored 30 points and hit four three-pointers to become Elmhurst’s all-time leader in trifectas with 160.

Record-breaking shot
Lyndsie Long’s offensive putback early in the second half on Tuesday at North Central College leads to a place at the top of the Elmhurst College record books. Courtesy of Steve Woltmann

On Feb. 10 in an 85-84 heartbreaker loss to visiting Carthage College, Long set a single-game scoring mark for the Elmhurst Bluejays with 45 points, breaking a record that stood for 24 years, and set a CCIW record that stood since 1994.

Long, who provided a major component of Kaneland girls basketball squads along with Jessica Lund, Kelsey Flanagan, Sarah Coppert and Kaiti Roy, sits at second place in the Lady Knights’ scoring list behind current Waubonsee women’s basketball coach and Aurora University standout Dana Wagner.

Elmhurst ends its regular season hosting Wheaton College on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Long makes Elmhurst women’s history

Updated Feb. 17, 2010 @ 8:10 a.m.

Lyndsie Long broke the Elmhurst College record last night at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. Read about it here.

by Mike Slodki
For four seasons now, Kaneland High School 2006 graduate Lyndsie Long has been knocking down jumpers at Elmhurst College.

Very soon, she could be knocking down history.

The senior majoring in physical education has four more regular season games remaining to break the all-time scoring record for the Bluejays (14-7, 7-3 Conference). Long, of Sugar Grove, has 1,695 career points and is 86 points away from breaking it.

Elmhurst also plays in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) postseason tournament later this month.

In a loss on Saturday at Illinois Wesleyan, Long put up 26 points. In a loss to Milliikin on Feb. 2, Long scored 29, and against Augustana, she scored 24. On Jan. 23, Long matched her career-high of 33 in a win over Wheaton.

Averaging 23.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest, Long needs to average 21.5 points per game for the remainder of the season, something that she hopes will happen.

“I knew this record breaking was a possibility, but I wasn’t concerned about it because I just want my team to succeed and win games,” Long said. “My brother will text me with his calculations of how many more points I need and what I need to average each game for the rest of the season to break the record, so it’s always in the back of my mind. I just need to maintain my scoring average and it will all work itself out.”

The leading scorer in the CCIW, Long is the type of player whose gifts lend themselves to the scoring crown at Elmhurst.

“Lyndsie is a very smart player,” Elmhurst coach Tethnie Werner said. “Over her career, I can see how she has matured on the mental aspect of the game. Teams come in with the game plan to bump her on every screen, double her off the dribble and at the post area. Early on she would get frustrated and that would allow her game toget off but not anymore,” Elmhurst coach Tethnie Werner said.

With Long on a torrid pace for the second-place Bluejays, the No. 2 place holder on the Kaneland girls basketball list, doesn’t find her overall game changing that much, showing the key to record-breaking might be staying the player she currently is.

“I wouldn’t say I’m playing ‘differently’, but I’m coming to realize that this is my senior year and I only have a month or so left of basketball,” Long said. “This is helping me to push not only me but my teammates to be the best we can be. I don’t play any differently knowing that I’m close to breaking the school record. When it comes time for gametime my only focus is helping my team win that game.” 

A three-time all-CCIW selection, Long has also been named named CCIW Women’s Basketball Player of the Week on three occasions this season, and if the scoring honor comes her way, it will have happened to a special player.

“Her goal is to win the game no matter who scores. Lyndsie’s game has grown so much since her freshmen year,” Werner said. Lyndsie is a great person and worked extremely hard to put herself in this position.”

In the meantime, Long and the Bluejays prepare for a clash against the North Park University Vikings in Elmhurst on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 5 p.m., marking the first of three regular season games remaining.

“This team is a group of girls that love each other on and off the court,” Long said. “However, basketball is a long season so every team will hit road bumps along the way.  We are a team that can get past those road bumps quickly, which is another reason why we have been successful.”

Learn hoops with Lyndsie Long

This special camp just for middle school girls will focus primarily on offensive skills including shooting, screening, driving and dribbling. Key aspects of defense like rebounding and shuffling will also be taught. The last day of camp will be loaded with fun, games and prizes while reviewing concepts learned.

Girls can register by calling the Sugar Grove Park District at 630-466-7436 or by visiting the SG Park district at 61 Main St. 9am-4pm. 

Session 1
Grades Entering 6th-8th
Monday-Friday, Aug. 3-7
10 a.m. to noon
$50 (includes camp t-shirt)
Kaneland John Shields Elementary
School gym
Instructor: Lyndsie Long

Sports briefs

Learn hoops with Lyndsie Long
This special camp just for middle school girls will focus primarily on offensive skills including shooting, screening, driving and dribbling. Key aspects of defense like rebounding and shuffling will also be taught. The last day of camp will be loaded with fun, games and prizes while reviewing concepts learned.
Session 1
Grades Entering 6th-8th
Monday-Friday, Aug. 3-7
10 a.m. to noon
$50 (includes camp t-shirt)
Kaneland John Shields Elementary
School gym
Instructor: Lyndsie Long

KHS boys hoops camp rescheduled
Due to scheduling issues, the 9-12 grade KHS Boys Basketball camp is being rescheduled. The new dates for the camp are Monday through Thursday, June 15-18, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Kaneland High School east gymnasium, and Monday through Thursday, June 22-25, from 8 to 10 a.m. in the high school east gymnasium. If you have scheduled a session in this camp and need to now withdraw due to a conflict, please contact Leigh Jaffke at (630) 365-5100, ext. 224, or at leigh.jaffke@kaneland.org.

KHS rivals still playing
Although the last bell has rung for area schools, two Lady Knight rivals still have work to do.

The Class 3A Softball State Tournament will feature Burlington Central and Western Sun Conference rival Glenbard South.

Burlington Central, who defeated Kaneland in a 1-0, nine-inning affair on May 30, is set to face Oak Forest on Friday at 9:30 a.m., while Glenbard South faces Chatham’s Glenwood High School at noon in the other semifinal.