On A Roll

Jan. 29, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. - 'We must be butter, because we're on a roll!' Just alittle phrase I picked up from an old coach while shooting one day, but itholds true of our team and the direction we're heading right now. Wearingour golden Arizona State uniforms we beat The University of Arizona for thefirst time in fourteen games, and there was no better time to do it than infront of a record-breaking attendance at Wells Fargo Arena. Although thisyear's team is entirely different from last year's team, with four newstarters joining our veteran point guard Natalie Tucker in the lineup, wehad one thing in common going into the game - none of us had ever defeated theWildcats. By winning we earned the bragging rights of the state, somethingthe program has been trying to earn for several years.

Let's not forget what earned us these bragging rights though. It's thesame things that earn great teams championships. Defense. With this alsobeing Super Bowl weekend there has been nonstop talk about the defense ofboth teams competing for the national championship. Whether it's a rebound,a side-out, a turnover, or getting the third out, there are many things insports that rely on defensive momentum to win games. There were threetouchdowns scored in less than a one-minute stretch in the Super Bowl game,but it was the ultimately the momentum of the defense, forcing them to dowhat they didn't want to do, that won them a championship in Tampa thisweekend.

As a sports fan all I could think about while watching the game was, 'Ihope it's not 0-0. How boring.' Growing up I always thought, 'you're bestdefense was a good offense,' but now I have to admit that defense is gettingmore and more exciting to me, and the new more mature philosophy of 'you'rebest offense is a good defense,' is starting to win me over. Something ashooter hates to admit! But as the national championship quarterback of theBaltimore Ravens said the most important thing he learned from his team thisyear was not anything that related to anyone's individual statistics onoffense or defense but rather, 'The most important skill out there islearning how to win.'

Although we work on defensive positioning and rebounding the majority ofpractice, I think the x-factor in us winning is playing together and havingfun for forty minutes. As our acronym for win being, what's important now,it's important to realize that now that we're at the top it will take morededication and hard work to stay there. While proving to be the 'butter'team in the state on Saturday we hope to continue on our 'roll' as we takeon Oregon State and Oregon at home this weekend to complete the first halfof our Pac-10 competition.

For more of Liz Paulson, please visit 'Straight Up With Women's Basketball'.

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