Bowdoin women’s basketball coach Adrienne Shibles speaks to her players during Jan. 6 practice in Brunswick. Portland Press Herald file photo Buy this Photo

BRUNSWICK — Adrienne Shibles has accomplished quite a bit during her time as Bowdoin women’s basketball coach. Eight Division III NCAA tournament appearances. Two straight Division III national championship game appearances. A robust 281-65 career mark for an .823 winning percentage — tops in program history.

Now, she can add USA Women’s Basketball coach to the list as well.

Shibles was named head coach of the USA women’s U16 national team on March 17. The team is scheduled to fly to Chile in June for the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championships.

“The opportunity to work with a program like USA basketball is a huge honor,” she said. “I looked at this as an opportunity to learn and grow as a coach, and there was no possible way I could pass this up.”

Shibles got her first taste of USA Basketball in the summer 2019, when she was named a “court coach” at the U16 women’s national team trials. The Polar Bears had enjoyed a standout 2018-19 season, going 31-2 and reaching the national title game. Shibles earned NESCAC and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association coach of the year honors.

The U16 trials gave USA Basketball a chance to evaluate potential coaches, said women’s national team director Carol Callan. Shibles was tasked with helping the staff trim the roster from a pool of 150 players.


“I wouldn’t call it a tryout, but we bring in coaches from all around the country and each level of basketball to see what they have,” Callan said. “She (Shibles) may have not realized it at the time, but we were watching and evaluating her just as much as we were with the players.”

Bowdoin women’s basketball coach Adrienne Shibles was recently named head coach of the USA U16 national team. Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald

Callan also saw Shibles coach Bowdoin during the 2018-2019 season.

“There’s much more to coaching than just the X’s and O’s; you have to teach in a way that players can understand. Adrienne (Shibes) excels in each of those aspects of coaching,” said Callan. “We didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity to work with her even more, and we couldn’t be happier with her leading our U16 team.”

The USA U16 national team is comprised primarily of high school sophomores and juniors.

“I’m not going to change how I approach the game and how I coach,” said Shibles. “The mindset will have to change, but these athletes are similar to the type of athlete we see at Bowdoin.”

Former Bowdoin standout and 2019-20 Division III women’s basketball player of the year Maddie Hasson says she thinks Shibles will shine at the national level.


“She is so qualified,” she said. “The players she will be working with are extremely lucky to be able to work with her at a young age,” said Hasson, who is playing overseas for Templeogue Basketball Club in Dublin, Ireland. “Sometimes I forget that I was able to play for one of the best coaches in the country. On a day-to-day basis I never really thought about it like that, but looking back on it I realize how lucky I was.”

Shibles’ coaching staff includes Katie Gearlds (Marian University, Indianapolis) and Sophia Witherspoon (Fort Pierce Central High School in Florida). Both have experience coaching elite high school programs.

“I’ll have two great assistants to assist me through the process as I get my feet wet,” said Shibles. “I know they are just as excited as I am to get to work.”

The U16 national tryouts are typically held in Colorado Springs at USA Basketball headquarters. Tryouts this year are scheduled for June 3, although Shibles is unsure of where they will be held because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m definitely itching to get back into some games, it’s been too long,” said Shibles.

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