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Basketball coach among victims in Bryant helicopter crash

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A woman who helped coach the girls’ basketball team that Kobe Bryant’s daughter played on was among those on the helicopter that crashed, killing all nine aboard including the basketball legend and his teenaged daughter, the coach’s husband said Monday.

Matt Mauser told NBC’s Today show in a phone interview that his wife, Christina Mauser, had a keen defensive mind for basketball and was asked to help coach at Bryant’s Mamba Academy.

“They called her the mother of defense — MOD,” he said, adding he met Bryant because the star’s daughters attended the private school where he and his wife taught and coached basketball.

Mauser, of Huntington Beach, was warm, funny, technologically savvy and skilled at impersonations and a mother of three children, he said.

“She was just an amazing person: beautiful, smart, funny,” her husband said. “He didn’t pick her because she was a slouch. He picked her because she was amazing.”

Outside the Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, two envelopes were left addressed to Christina Mauser, Bryant and his daughter Gigi. On a nearby bench there were bouquets of flowers.

The head of the school declined to speak with reporters.

Also among the nine victims of Sunday’s crash were Payton Chester, a 13-year-old member of the basketball team, and her mother Sarah, Payton’s grandmother Catherine George told KNBC-4 in Los Angeles.

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