Curry in a Hurry!

Jan. 9, 2002

By Chris Hansen

Edniesha Curry has played for two Division I college programs in fiveyears. She's played for 22 different coaches. She's played for fourdifferent head coaches.

She's seen her first head coach sent to jail for drug trafficking. She'sseen her third resign under intense pressure from the athletic department,community and players.

And she's seen a season go by strictly from the end of the bench. So whyis Curry always smiling?

Better question, how is she always smiling?

'Oh, I find a positive in everything,' the 22-year-old senior point guardsaid with a laugh. 'No matter what, I always feel like I'll end up on top.'Probably because that's where she started. Curry, a native of Palmdale,Calif., spent her first three seasons at Cal State Northridge settingschool records and earning numerous individual accolades.

As a freshman in 1997-98, she was named the Big Sky Conference's freshmanof the year and a member of the all-league first team after averaging 17points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists. She was also named Northridge'sstudent-athlete of the month three times.

A year later, Curry led the Matadors to their first appearance in the NCAAtournament and was again named to the all-conference team. She averaged18.4 points and ended the year with single-season school records forpoints (533) and three-pointers (66).

But just days before her sophomore season, things began to fall apart forCurry. Northridge head coach Michael Abraham, a former high school coachin Portland and a former Oregon State assistant, was arrested.

Assistant Frozena Jerro was named interim head coach and then hired fulltime the same day the Matadors received their invitation to the NCAATournament.

Even with the success of the team, Curry was yearning to get out. Hermentor, Abraham, was gone, and she struggled to fit in with Jerro, and shelonged to play for a team that was given more national recognition.

Sixteen games into her junior season, again leading Northridge in scoringat 15.3 points per game, Curry abruptly left the team after scoring 24against Montana, 18 of which came on three-pointers.

'Mentally, I wasn't there with the team,' Curry said. 'I was fighting thedecision to leave the team at the beginning of the season but I wanted tobe with my teammates so bad. But it was too mentally draining for me to bein a place where I didn't want to be. I was just no longer happy.'

Enter Oregon, which was more than happy to bring in the dynamic 5-foot-6Curry, even if would be for just one season. The prospect of Curry andguard Shaquala Williams manning a back court together was just tootempting to pass up. It was a guaranteed 30 points every night.

And Curry, who took a recruiting trip to Oregon during the week that theDucks hosted two first-round NCAA Tournament games in March of 2000, washappy to be playing in front of large crowds in a premier conference andstill relatively close to home.

Neither has disappointed the other. Curry was second on theteam in scoring , three-pointers made and assists.

'On the floor she (plays) with an enthusiasm and passion for the game andfor always doing it right,' Oregon coach Bev Smith said. 'She is a conduitfor our energy. If we're a little bit down, it probably means (Curry) is alittle bit tired too.'

In her first weekend of Pac-10 play, which took her back to SouthernCalifornia to play UCLA and USC, Curry led the team with 22 points inOregon's win against the Bruins.

Not a bad start for Curry, who hadn't played a real game in 18 months.In compliance with NCAA rules, a player must sit out a season when ittransfers from one Division I school to another. So Curry, who hadn't useda redshirt year, sat out last season. It wasn't an easy break to take,Curry said, but it wasn't so bad either.

'It was like a year and a half as a normal student, a normal person,'Curry said. 'It was stress free. I had no game pressure. I basicallyworked out and went home. When they were on road trips I got to go tofootball games and men's basketball games, things I had never been able toexperience before.

'That was fun. I got to meet new people and see things that I couldn'tever see, because I had always been in the gym or the weight room ormeetings or study hall. Sometimes being a student-athlete means beingconfined.'

Kind of like being a spectator in street clothes from your own team'sbench during home games.

'Anybody who says they like sitting on the bench is lying,' said Curry,again with a laugh. 'The game is so long. It made me appreciate thepeople on the team who don't get to play as much. You practice to playall week like everybody else and then you just sit there for what feelslike four hours.'

And it also brought Curry a rekindled appreciation for the game.

'Basketball is fun,' Curry said. 'It's challenging at times, but I thinkit can be really easy if you just focus on the little things. That's how Isee life, too, focus on the little things and you'll get far.'

But isn't it the little things you're not supposed to sweat?

'I know, I do,' Curry laughed. 'The little things are what count. The bigthings are achieved through a process you have to take. You're going tofall, and then you're going to get back up.'

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