Wendy Palmer, an 11-year WNBA veteran and former All-American at Virginia under Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame coach Debbie Ryan, is set to begin her third season at the helm of the UNCG women's basketball program. Palmer, who was named head coach on April 19, 2011, replaced longtime UNCG coach Lynne Agee, who retired in March 2011 after 30 years at the helm for the Spartans.
The Spartans doubled their win total in Palmer's second season (2012-13) and the head coach mentored 2013 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year Lucy Mason. UNCG also knocked off Samford in Birmingham, handing the Bulldogs just their 14th-ever loss inside the Pete Hanna Center. It was also the Blue and Gold's first win at the venue.
At the 2013 Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Championship in Asheville, N.C., Palmer led the Spartans to their first win in the event since 2010. No. 10 seed UNCG knocked off seventh-seeded Furman, 73-68.
Palmer, a Timberlake, N.C., native, came to UNCG after a two-year stint as an assistant coach at her alma mater. While on staff at Virginia, Palmer helped recruit and sign a class ranked in the top 15 nationally by ESPN HoopGurlz and coached All-American and national Defensive Player of the Year Monica Wright. During Palmer’s tenure on the sidelines, Virginia made one NCAA appearance and a WNIT quarterfinals appearance.
Palmer was an assistant for two years at Kentucky prior to returning to Virginia. There, she coached All-American Victoria Dunlap, who was taken 11th in the recent WNBA Draft.
While still playing professionally, Palmer began her coaching career at Virginia Commonwealth. In her two years there, Palmer coached 2006 Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year Quanitra Hollingsworth and Krystal Vaughn, who both went on to play professionally in the WNBA and in Europe.
Palmer enjoyed outstanding playing careers on both the professional and amateur levels. A WNBA All-Star for the Detroit Shock in 2000, Palmer was also the WNBA’s Co-Most Improved Player with the Connecticut Sun in 2004. She was selected in the 1997 Elite Draft by the Utah Starzz in preparation for the WNBA’s inaugural year of competition and was a second-team All-WNBA selection that season. Palmer also played for the Orlando Miracle, San Antonio Silver Stars and Seattle Storm in her WNBA career. The Shock’s Community Relations Player Representative from 1999-2001, Palmer was the recipient of the Black Legends of Professional Basketball John Isaacs Service Award.
Palmer also played professionally in Spain, Brazil, Hungary, Turkey, Italy and Russia, earning another all-star bid in Italy.
On the collegiate level, Palmer was a two-time Kodak All-American and Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year for the Cavaliers, earning those honors in 1995 and 1996. A three-time All-ACC selection, she is still the Cavs’ career rebounding leader and is fourth on Virginia’s all-time scoring list. Palmer was the first woman in school history and just the second player overall to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds at Virginia. Cavalier legend Ralph Sampson was the other.
Palmer is a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the Black Coaches Association.