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Sunday, January 14, 2007
After 31 years as coach, Portland wins 600th game

Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Rene Portland won her 600th game for Penn State on Sunday, joining Tennessee's Pat Summitt and Connecticut's Geno Auriemma on the list of nine Division I coaches who have won at least 600 games at one school.

Kam Gissendanner had 21 points and Tyra Grant scored 11 in a 5-minute span in the second half to lead Penn State past Michigan 65-51 and give Portland the milestone victory.

Portland won her first game as Lady Lions head coach when Penn State defeated Howard 82-44 on Dec. 2, 1980. She said she remembers little about that game, but her players said they want her to remember this victory for years to come.

"It's been something we've talked about since the beginning of the season," said Amanda Brown, who added 12 points. "We figured out how many she needed and then we went from there. ... I'm glad we could get it at home and it was exciting to get it in the Bryce Jordan Center."

In 31 years as a head coach, Portland has been named coach of the year five times, won eight championships and taken her teams to the NCAA tournament 21 times. Portland is the longest tenured coach in the Big Ten and credited Penn State for its loyalty to her over the past 27 seasons.

"If you do look [at the coaches on the list], it's those of us that started around the same time," Portland said. "That's pretty special that schools have stayed with their coaches and haven't gone for the 'trophy coaches.' ... We're not just a basketball team here at Penn State, and I think that's what I am proud of."