March 13, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. - 'I hope we play at Purdue,' Brett Leonard said right before the selection show on Sunday at Charli's house. 'That way my family and friends could drive to see me play.' It's only fair considering we've been close enough for most of the team's families to drive to a couple of games this year, or at least the team has made it home once during their career. We went to Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon and California this year, and last year we made it to Texas. So being placed in the Mideast Regional and playing at Purdue on Friday was a blessing to both our Midwest guards Brett Leonard and Amanda Levens who are from nearby Illinois.
It's a blessing to all of us who went into the season picked to finish no higher than fifth. However since day one our goal has always been to finish no lower than first, and we never believed for a second we wouldn't come out on top of the Pac-10 after all was said and done. Some were quoted as saying 'the party would soon end,' but as for the Sun Devils there's another championship to be won, and with an invitation to the Big Dance, the party has just begun.
When the invitation was given to me two years ago to be a Sun Devil, I never imagined the roller-coaster ride that would drop me off here: a senior going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in my five-year career. It's been a long ride, a ride of many memories. Some memories don't fall into any statistical category, but these are the ones that have made the ride much too short for me as a Sun Devil.
They say in the end your whole life will flash before your eyes, so make it worth watching. So with this, I give you my Top Ten List of memories for the regular season in no special order:
1. Assistant coach Mark Lewis, the NCAA Rules Guru: I got in an argument concerning my bandana I wanted to wear in our first game. It was yellow with the usual bandana print on it. However according to the NCAA rule book that Mark had highlighted and given to me in my locker the next morning it could only be (and don't quote me one this) 2 inches in width and it could be only one color-in other words unprinted. I about died! I never got to wear it because 'at ASU we go EXACTLY by the books.'
2. Leah Comb's video camera on the Hawaii road trip. It was so fun watching her be anchorwoman for our adventures and just goofing off in front of the camera. I never signed a consent form releasing my cheerleader dance though-that could be worth something someday!
3. Bonding down the Salt River and getting ditched and laughed at while I walked a mile in the rapids to catch up to my crew-it was really funny... to them, so I thought I'd include it.
4. Tripping over lines on the court. This is in fact how I broke my foot before I got to ASU. The truth comes out now. It was kind of a joke that I always tripped and was on the ground without anyone ever touching me half the time. Ha ha, I guess I'm laughing too now!
5. Coaches and managers skits in the hotel room before the University of Arizona game. Although last year's skit made me laugh a little harder due to Mark's performance, the sarcasm in this year's skits was right up my alley and the humor in the Pac-10 will never be forgotten.
6. Amanda Levens. That's pretty much a top ten right there. Her locker got pretty classic toward the end of the year-some people really thought she did live at the gym by the looks of it. In addition her study hall letter she wrote to the assistant coaches saying, ' It wasn't me, I didn't do it. My pleas fall on deaf ears. Where are the reinforcements, the heros, the rescuers? Nowhere to be found. I shall be a martyr. A symbol to all those oppressed in days to come. It was worth it. I laid the foundation for the future demise of study hall.' This was a letter she wrote to the assistants after being blamed for throwing grapes in study hall. Amanda? No.
7. Number seven goes to all of our super fans, especially Elvis and 'the dancing lady' who we can always count on being there no matter who we play at home, sitting in the same seat, and doing the same things. I still think someone needs to tell Elvis what exactly an air ball is. As for the dancing lady who I heard rides her bike miles and miles every day to watch us play, the dancing performance before the UCLA game got us so much more pumped for the game. Thanks for your enthusiasm for ASU women's basketball!
8. Betsy Boardman makes my Top Ten List for just laughing at my stupid jokes. Lots of memories! Making up cheers for our team while sitting in the cold whirlpool and then trying to figure out how to put some rhythm into them so we could look cool was a classic. Another thing that I hope doesn't make the top 10 next year are her socks. The girl refuses to buy short ankle socks instead she improvises and just folds over tube socks three times.
9. Playing outside vs. Tennessee. I almost forgot! The visualization exercise was a personal favorite before the game. But how cool was that to play at a baseball park with a football field under your floor? So cool. A game the program will never forget either!
10. Last but not least, finding out Washington lost during our loss to Stanford and realizing our goal of becoming Pac-10 Champions came true. Then of course watching the NCAA Selection Show at coach's house with lots of media and reporters. It was just like I had dreamed.