Newcomers Hope To Continue CU Tradition
Boulder - After finishing just a step away from a trip to last year's Final Four, the women's basketball team was left with a sense of unfinished business on their minds.
While some of the familiar leaders from that team have since moved on, four newcomers bring fresh faces to this year's team, and the hunger for a championship wears on the minds of the newest Buffs as much as it does on their teammates who played in last year's NCAA tournament.
"As a goal for the team, I think it's for sure a national championship," said point guard Maria Billingsley. "It's a good feeling for the whole team to win something together."
Billingsley, a junior transfer from Central Arizona College, is the senior member of Ceal Barry's 2002 recruiting class. That class also includes sophomore transfer Whitney Law, a former Chatfield High School standout who attended Georgia her first year out of high school, and a duo of talented freshmen in Melissa Hobbs (Woodward, Okla.) and hometown girl Amber Metoyer (Fairview High School).
While the group comes from varied backgrounds, the reasons they ended up at Colorado all revolve around Coach Barry and the rest of her Colorado staff.
"Coach Barry is an awesome coach," Metoyer said. "She's been an assistant for the USA team and it's just her experience and how long she's been coaching that's amazing to me."
Added Hobbs, "I knew that the program was awesome. Coach Barry has so much experience and I came here because I didn't want any regrets. I just want to get as much out of my experience as I can."
After transferring from Georgia, a move she made to be closer to home, Law will be forced to redshirt this year, and although she said it's already been difficult watching from the sidelines, she knows the experience will help her in the long run.
"It's tougher than I ever imagined it would be," Law said. "It makes me appreciate the game so much more. I've never had to sit out except for a game here or there. I think it's really going to make me want it so much more the next three years."
Metoyer, Hobbs and Billingsley have already made their appearances on the floor for the Buffs with each newcomer seeing action in both of the Buffs preseason exhibition games.
In the team's final exhibition game against Spartak Moscow last Saturday, Metoyer was the team's second leading scorer. She cashed in 19 points, one behind junior center Tera Bjorklund, and had a team-leading 12 rebounds in 28 minutes of play. Hobbs finished the afternoon with six points and three boards while Billingsley had eight points, three rebounds and dished out four assists.
Although the transition to life with the Buffs has had some rocky points, each of the newcomers has seemingly found a home on the hardcourt at Coors.
"All the players here are good people, very good people," Billingsley said. "There's a lot of good people that you work around."