Liz Paulson: 'The Player Your Coach Always Warned You About'

Oct. 30, 2000

After playing in over twenty minutes a game, in a premier women's basketballprogram at Old Dominion, Amanda Levens decided to take Charli Turner-Thorneup on the offer she made two years prior. She said, 'keep me in mind ifanything ever comes up,' and Levens' did just that.

With six transfers on the team this year honesty is a focal point inrecruiting players to our program. 'One of the biggest things I liked aboutthis program is what you see is what you get when you're being recruited,'Amanda said after completing her first year at ASU.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, Levens spent last year sitting out, along withtransfers Nikki Swagger and Melody Johnson from Colorado, wearingcoordinating 'red shirts' at the end of the bench during our games. AlthoughAmanda had the advantage of getting an extra year to learn Charli'sdefensive system, as well as run through many of the PAC-10 teams plays onthe scout team, Levens' still hated everything about sitting out. 'I thinkthe hardest part was not being able to do anything when the team wasstruggling in the games,' she said.

If there's one thing that kept Amanda motivated throughout the year, it wascompetition. From sitting out to standing out this year, one thing hasremained constant: she hates losing. 'I want to know when I step on thefloor that I have done everything possible to prepare myself forcompetition. I am that someone that was always somewhere practicing thatyour coach constantly warned you about.'

No one who follows the ASU women's program can argue with Levens. Amanda iswhat basketball coaches and players call a 'gym rat.' She is always thefirst to arrive at the gym, and practically has to be chased out of the gymbefore she'll leave. While most of us are just getting our laces tied orour practice jerseys on, Amanda is already perspiring, the result of ahalf-hour's worth of shooting and working on her off the dribble moves.After practice it's the same story, we all are already dressed and on ourway home, or to training table, before she puts down her ball.

'I have spent many hours with Amanda before and after practice chasing downher balls,' assistant coach Laura Hughes says, 'I'm happy to do it because Ilove working with players who are determined to get better everyday.'

Assistant coach Kim Gervasoni agrees with Laura, 'Amanda is one of the mostdedicated players I've had the opportunity to work with, and she puts in thetime required to be a great shooter, which is one of the reasons I loveworking with her so much.' Amanda has emerged as a great leader in ourprogram, with the kind of work ethic and determination it takes to wingames.

Being one of the only Sun Devils with real NCAA tournament experience,having gone to the sweet sixteen in her two years at Old Dominion, Amandaknows the role that both strength and stamina play at the end of a longseason. Whether she's winning drills in practice, or losing them, Levensalmost always steps up to the line and runs extra with the team. Even moreamazing are the results of her weight room tests. 'She's one of thestrongest players on our roster,' said assistant coach Mark Lewis, whomonitors the team's progress during weights. Amanda has earned the respectof her coaches and teammates, but as she clearly points out, 'nobody's seenme play yet.'

'Amanda is a baller,' guard Brett Leonard quite simply puts it, and she willget her chance to help lead the Sun Devils back to the NCAA Tournamentbeginning on November 5th, when ASU hosts the Chinese National team in anexhibition game at Wells Fargo.

Amanda Levens on what it takes to be a champion-
Somewhere someone is practicing, and when you meet him or her inface-to-face competition they will beat you.

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