Thursday, March 21, 2013
- by B.B. Branton
You’ve done it. I’ve done it. Hundreds of times in our lifetime.
UTC Lady Mocs Kayla Christopher and Ashlen Dewart also raise their hand.
It’s “One Shining Moment” for a young kid in a small Tennessee town or a tough street-wise teen on the blacktop of the Big Apple or a West Coast hot shot from L.A. or one from Ole Miss.
We’ve dreamed of making that life-changing, game-winning basket before thousands of cheering fans, while in reality we are shooting bank shots at our goal on a worn- out patch of grass in the back yard or in an all-but-empty gym on a late Saturday afternoon after watching a couple of NCAA tournament thrillers.
And for a few fleeting moments we are Christian Laettner for the umpteenth time making that turn around, nothing-but-net, jumper beating the Cats … fist-pumping Candace Parker leading the Lady Vols to the Summit of women’s basketball … we are that unflappable freshman known as “Never Nervous Pervis” Ellison for Louisville … or Cheryl Miller at USC in the early days to pave the way for young girls who for years could only hope and dream of a way to get a college education … or UConn’s Rebecca Lobo … and now Baylor’s Brittany Griner … we’ve wanted to emulate Jerry West, the Big O and Bobby Joe Hill … Bird and Magic … Davidson’s Stephen Curry and the Butler duo of Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard who won all those games for the Mid-Majors.
But for Christopher and Dewart and their UTC teammates the dream becomes reality this week as No.6 UTC faces No.11 Nebraska in an NCAA tournament first round game in College Station, Texas Saturday at 6:30 p.m. (EST).
Birthdays and the Big Dance: Christopher and Dewart are not only excited about playing in the Big Dance, they are also celebrating upcoming birthdays as Christopher turns 22 today (March 21) and Dewart is 22 on March 28.
“Oh sure, I grew up wanting to play for the Lady Vols and spent hours shooting baskets in our back yard pretending each shot was for a national championship,” said Christopher with a smile.
“What young girl growing up in the South wouldn’t have wanted to play for Tennessee and Coach Summitt,” said Dewart who was a key factor in UTC’s upset of the Lady Vols in the season opener Nov. 9 in McKenzie Arena.
March Madness Highlights on or near their Big Dance Birthdays.
March 21 – Michelle Christopher gives birth to Kayla as the Lady Vols beat Western Kentucky, 68-61 in the Mideast region semis
March 28 – Angie Dewart gives birth to Ashlen two days before UT beats defending national champion Stanford in the Final Four semis … the Lady Vols win it all on Easter Sunday, beating Virginia, 70-67 in overtime.
March 19 – two days prior to Kayla’s 15th birthday, UT’s Candace Parker becomes the first female to dunk a basketball in an NCAA tournament game ... on Kayla’s birthday, UT advances to the Sweet 16 by beating George Washington, 66-53.
March 28 – Ashlen also turns 15, but UT falls to North Carolina 75-63 in the Elite 8
both girls receive a vehicle on their 16th birthday – a car for Kayla and a truck for Ashlen, which she still has … On March 20, Candace Parker scores 30 as UT beats Pittsburgh, 68-54 to advance to the Sweet 16 … On March 27, UT stops Ole Miss, 98-62, to advance to the Final Four
Kayla turns 21 two days after Tennessee beats DePaul, 63-48 ... Ashlen turns 21 two days after Pat Summitt coaches her final college basketball game as Baylor (38-0) defeat UT to advance to the Final Four and go on to win the national championship
March 21, 1013 – UTC is 29-3 has a 19-game win streak intact and heads to Texas where the Lady Mocs hope to dance their way past Big 10 foe Nebraska Saturday night.
It could be a One Shining Evening in the Lone Star State for the Blue and Gold.
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org