219 Intercollegiate Athletics Building l 949-824-9573

Head Coach Tamara Inoue

Tamara Inoue was named head coach of the UC Irvine women’s basketball program on April 20, 2016, announced by Athletic Director Mike Izzi.

She became the ninth head coach in UCI women’s basketball history after serving five years on the staff at New Mexico State.

“Tamara has a great presence and is highly motivated,” Izzi said. “She was the lead assistant on a staff that produced back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, is a tireless recruiter and has a clear vision for our women’s basketball program.

“She is the perfect person to elevate UCI Women's Basketball into a program that can compete for conference titles in the near future.”

Inoue takes over leadership of the Anteater program after serving as the associate head coach at New Mexico State under head coach Mark Trakh, including her last two seasons when the Aggies competed in the NCAA Tournament.

Inoue also served as interim Senior Woman Administrator for New Mexico State Athletics for the 2015-16 season.

She has ties to Orange County and the Big West Conference as she played at Laguna Hills High School and Long Beach State.

“I am excited and honored to be UCI’s next women’s basketball coach," Inoue said. "I can’t wait to dive right in and get started with this team. UCI has so much to offer with its world-class education and athletic programs.  I want to thank Mike Izzi and the entire UCI Athletics Department for allowing me the opportunity.  I am extremely happy to be back in Orange County."

With Inoue as the associate head coach, NM State made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances after capturing consecutive Western Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles.  The Aggies ended the 2015-16 campaign with a 26-5 overall record, which tied the school record for single-season victories.

In her first year as associate head coach in 2014-15, Inoue helped New Mexico State to a 22-8 record and a 13-1 league mark.  It was the first conference title for the Aggies in 20 years and the first-ever tournament championship for the program.  New Mexico State made the NCAA Tournament for only the third time in program history and the first since 1988.

In the absence of Trakh at the 2014 WAC Championship, Inoue stepped in and led the Aggies to the semifinals for the first time since 2008.  She directed the Aggies to a come-from-behind win over fourth-seeded Texas-Pan American in the quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 seed Idaho.

Inoue was instrumental in the development of WAC Player of the Year and WAC Tournament MVP Brianna Freeman. Inoue also coached six other Aggie players to All-WAC honors and 14 players to All-Academic accolades.

Inoue joined the Aggie coaching staff in 2011 after three seasons as an assistant coach at Santa Clara University.

She had previously spent six years playing and coaching in Australia.  Her professional playing career was cut short due to injury, but following rehabilitation she returned to coach in Australia's Victorian Basketball League (VBL).

Inoue played at Long Beach State from 2000-02 after beginning her career at Cal. She was a two-time All-Big West honorable mention selection with the 49ers (2001 and 2002), earning a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 2002.

As a senior, Inoue led the Big West in assists, averaging 5.9 per game. In her junior year, she finished second in the league in assists (4.6) while averaging 9.6 points per game. Inoue also shot 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc as LBSU advanced to the third round of the 2000 Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).

Inoue is a graduate of Laguna Hills High School, and was inducted into the Hawks' Hall of Fame in January, 2017. She was a USA Today honorable mention All-American as a senior after averaging 14.0 points per game in 1997.  A two-time league MVP, she set single-game school records for points (30), assists (12) and steals (12).


 The Inoue File

  • New Mexico State, Associate Head Coach
  • Santa Clara, Assistant Coach


Contact Coach Inoue

Email:  | Phone: 949-824-9573 

Office: IAB 219

Assistant Coach Cecilia Russell-Nava


Cecilia Russell-Nava joins Inoue after also serving on the New Mexico State staff. She had two stints with the Aggies, the first from 2007-11 and again from 2014-16.

Russell-Nava spent three seasons at San Jose State before returning to her alma mater.

A starting guard for NM State from 2005-07, the Aggies reached the WAC Tournament championship game her last two seasons. She ranks second in the record books in three-point field goals made in a season (78) and fifth in career three-pointers (172). She was named to the 2007 WAC All-Tournament team.

Russell-Nava graduated from New Mexico State in 2007 with a degree in business marketing, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree from NM State in curriculum and instruction.






Assistant Coach Justin Wilson


Justin Wilson was hired as an assistant coach for the UC Irvine women's basketball program in May, 2017.

Wilson was previously an assistant at Pacific where he headed up all junior college recruiting and scouting efforts for the Tigers. On the court, he worked primarily on defense and the development of the team’s point guards.

Prior to his stint at Pacific, Wilson spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Chico State. During his tenure, the Wildcats made three-straight appearances in the West Regional Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four in 2006. He was responsible for the coaching and development of the post players, while also serving as the team’s video coordinator.

In addition, Wilson has extensive experience at the prep and youth levels, coaching a variety of age groups for AAU basketball, and spending time as an assistant at Chico High School. He also acted as the Director of Summer Camps for the Pacific women’s basketball program.

Wilson earned his bachelor’s degree in social science (2003) and his teaching credential (2006) from Chico State.


Assistant Coach Ebony Haliburton

Ebony Haliburton joined the UC Irvine staff as an assistant coach after a three-year stint as the Director of Operations for the Utah State women’s basketball program.

Haliburton also served as the Director of Women’s Basketball Operations and Sports Account Manager for College Coaches Network (CCN) from 2008-11.

Haliburton played two seasons at Oral Roberts University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising in 2008. She also played collegiately at Kansas and Cowley County Community College.

Haliburton was featured in the award-winning documentary CityBall.




Director of Basketball Operations Amanda Delgado

Amanda Delgado also worked with Inoue at New Mexico State where she was the Director of Player Development.

She was a four-year letterwinner at Oregon, finishing her Duck career with 452 points, 131 rebounds, 63 assists and 40 steals. While at Oregon, Delgado played under Paul Westhead, an NBA and WNBA Champion, her first three years and Kelly Graves her senior season.

Delgado graduated from Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts.

She was the SAAC Unification chairman her last two years and was an integral member of the O Heroes program.


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