Heather Robben | Assistant Coach
Heather Robben was named the East Central University assistant women's basketball coach starting August 1, 2014.
In 2017-18, Robben worked with All-Great American Conference Honorable Mention honorees Devon Branch and Lakin Preisner. Preisner was also honored with the NCAA Division II Free-Throw Percentage Statistical Leader, with a 95.6 percent free-throw percentage.
Robben, who works with the guards, helped the Tigers see two seniors earn All-GAC honors in her first season with the team, as Erin Walling and Taylor Fischer were both named to the All-GAC honorable mention team. That list was added to in 2016-17 when Devon Branch claimed All-GAC Second Team honors.
She comes to the Tigers after spending two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at Emporia State University. During her time on the bench with the Hornets she helped the team to two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and two Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament titles.
While at ESU, Robben was responsible for scouting reports, film exchange, travel arrangements and assisting with recruiting, summer camp and other administrative duties.
Before assuming a coaching role at ESU, Robben spent one season playing for the Hornets where she led the team with 14.0 points per game and added 3.6 rebounds per outing. The All-MIAA Second Team selection shot .403 from the field and .359 from beyond the arc. The guard helped ESU to the NCAA Central Regional Championship game and was named to the 2012 All-Central Regional Tournament Team.
Before heading to ESU, Robben spent a season at Wichita State University and spent her first two collegiate seasons at Hutchinson Community College. While playing for the Blue Dragons, she became the school’s first two-time NJCAA All-American and helped the team to the NJCAA nationals. She set HCC’s all-time scoring record with 1,072 points and holds the Blue Dragons records for career free-throw percentage (.853) and freshman free-throw percentage (.870).
Robben was a standout at Maize High School in Maize, Kan., where as a senior she was named to the Class 6A All-Kansas State Second Team and All-Ark Valley/Chisolm Trail League Second Team. She averaged 18.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Robben earned a Master of Science degree in Health, Physical Education, Recreation in May 2014 and a Bachelor of Science in Business (Marketing) in December 2012 from Emporia State. She also earned an Associate in Arts from Hutchinson Community College in May 2010. During her collegiate career, Robben was a standout in the classroom, claiming spots on her school’s honor roll every semester.
Jeff McGaha | Assistant Coach
Jeff McGaha returned to the East Central University women’s basketball team as an assistant coach starting in the 2014-15. McGaha’s duties include scouting and recruiting and coaching forwards.
In his first season back, he helped guide senior Dilan Webster to All-GAC honors. Webster left the Tigers as the all-time leading blocker (165). In 2016-17 he helped guide Jalyn Jackson and Whitney Stotler to All-GAC Honorable Mention honors.
McGaha was previously an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team for five and a half years. He joined the staff half way through the 2005-06 season. McGaha continued in the role through the 2010-11 season, when he moved into a full-time teaching role in the kinesiology department at ECU.
McGaha has also had coaching stints at Konawa High School (two years) and Watonga High School. While at Watonga he served as an assistant boys coach for two years and head boys coach for two more years. Prior to his stint at Watonga, he served as an assistant coach at Lexington High School for three years.
McGaha is a 1991 graduate of Stuart High School and a graduate of ECU in 1995 with a degree in health, physical education and recreation and a teacher’s certification in biology. He also received his master’s degree in counseling from ECU.
Aaliyah Blakley | Graduate Assistant Coach
Aaliyah Blakley moves from the court to the bench for the 2018-19 season as a graduate assistant coach.
Blakley spent three years on the Tigers team working her way into a starting role. In 77 games, she averaged 6.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists per outing and added 53 steals and nine block.
The forward transferred to ECU after a season at Oklahoma Baptist. As a prep she played at Ada High School, where she helped the Cougars to a state tournament appearance as a senior. She was named to the OGBCA All-State Team and was the Southeastern Oklahoma All-VYPE Player of the Year.
The Ada, Okla., native earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from ECU in May 2018 and is pursuing a master’s degree in sports administration at ECU.
Aaliyah Blakley | Graduate Assistant Coach
Claudia Talafuse moved into a coaching role for the East Central University women’s basketball team after spending the 2015-16 season as a member of the team.
Talafuse came to ECU from Lake Highlands High School, where she was a standout for four seasons. The 1,000 Point Club member helped the Wildcats to a top-five finish in the district all four years and earned All-District 10-6A First Team honors her final three seasons and honorable mention honors a freshman.
Talafuse was also a standout in the classroom, earning TABC 6A Academic All-State and First Team All-District 10-6A Academic Team honors, while being a member of the National Honor Society.
The Dallas, Texas, native is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.