FSN's Mary Murphy Gives Her U.S. Bank 'Tip of the Week'

Feb. 27, 2008

As a television analyst for Pac-10 women's basketball, I often lean on hyperbole to make a point. Broadcasts are sprinkled with 'spectacular,' 'terrific,' 'tremendous' and many other adjectives to describe individual players and their efforts. There are times in every broadcast when we television announcers steer away from the athletic prowess of the players and focus on the student-athletes lives beyond the basketball court. We discuss things these individuals have accomplished in the classroom, in good works off the court and the obstacles they overcame during their years in school. This week's tip of the week is not about how to rebound or start a fast break. This week's tip is a philosophical one--in every game, in every player there is a source of inspiration for each of us.

Over the past few weeks, at arenas all over the country, colleges and universities are honoring their senior basketball players. There are pre-game and post-game ceremonies. There are flower presentations to parents. There are standing ovations, tears, hugs and memories of games gone by. What remains after all the hoopla fades away is the simple fact that these women have persevered through success, failure, injuries, dashed dreams and all the curveballs that life throws.

This coming Saturday, FSN will broadcast the Pac-10's final game of the regular season--Arizona State will take the floor at the Galen Center and play USC. It is a huge game for both teams. USC is fighting for a NCAA at-large berth and Arizona State is battling for seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

There are a number of impressive women playing their last regular season games for their respective schools. There are two women in particular, Jill Noe of Arizona State and Allison Jaskowiak Kennedy for USC, who have inspired me during their respective careers. Jill Noe's career started off like a comet--bright and streaking towards stardom. Then she tore her ACL and reinjured the same knee trying to push her rehabilitation along. While she was granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA, the early success was hard to replicate. Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for herself, Jill went to work on the court and in the classroom. She has already graduated with an undergraduate degree and will receive her master's in May.

Allison Jaskowiak Kennedy was recruited to USC by the former head coach Chris Gobrecht. With the arrival of the new coaching staff, she was told she may not see much playing time and if she wanted to transfer schools they would understand. Early in her time at USC, Allison also struggled with an eating disorder. Instead of getting discouraged she persevered. She earned her playing time through hard work, an outstanding attitude and a fearless approach. Not only has Allison played but she has started on and off for the past two years. The NCAA granted Allison an additional year of eligibility because of her illness and this year, after getting married in the spring, returned to play once again for the Women of Troy.

So, as we honor the seniors, try to focus on the positive things we see on the floor and the inspiration that each and every one of the women we watch can bring into our lives.

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