When your home team wins a national championship, what is the one thing everyone focuses on when the game ends? What does everybody talk about and what do reporters write about? To find the answer to that question think about what you wrote in the text messages you sent to your friends who weren’t at the game. More than likely somewhere in your message you included the numbers 85-66.
Numbers are what get all the attention after a championship game. The score, how many points each player had, rebounds, turnovers, free throws and fouls dominate news releases, web casts and conversations.
The audience is captivated by numbers, but if you were to ask any member of the NW women’s basketball team what their first thought was after the buzzer signaling their national victory sounded, not one of them would say anything involving numbers.
Senior Andrea Wedel has played varsity forward for four consecutive seasons and has been a part of two national championship teams. Reflecting back on her basketball career, numbers don’t even surface in her mind. The highlights of her experiences are marked not by statistics, but by the relationships she has gained.
“My favorite memories are not all of winning games,” she said, “but of the times that I spent with my teammates. The girls on our team are a special group of women that have helped me become the person I am today. Winning national championships has its place, but the relationships I developed are what I’m going to remember the most.”
Freshman Kendra De Jong shares Wedel’s value of relationships. The recipient of the 2nd-team All-American award as a forward, De Jong viewed her accomplishment not as personal recognition, but as a product of teamwork.
“I win awards not just for what I do,” De Jong said, “but also because of my teammates who I play with. They make me better every day in practice.”
Junior Becca Hurley, NW’s guard, also emphasized the importance of team over self when she was honored as the tournament MVP.
“I tried not to focus on the awards but just on playing as a team, getting better and doing whatever it took to go as far as we could in the tournament,” Hurley said.
These close-knit relationships aren’t limited to playing a role on the basketball court. This season the team focused on encouraging and mentoring one another to help each other grow spiritually. Wedel described this goal of spiritual growth to be one of the most extraordinary qualities of the team as a whole.
“This year was special because of the spiritual growth we did as a team,” she said. “We were focused