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An in-depth look at a piece of Division III

March 17, 2008

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Tasha RodgersPat MaloneyAli JaquesJeff Gibbs
Liz BondiMichael RhoadesDixie JeffersJason Kalsow
Faces of a champion

What does it take to win a national title? We asked ...

Ali Jaques, NYU

Ali JaquesThen: Player, 1997 NYU national championship team. Grabbed rebound, threw outlet pass that led to Marsha Harris’ title-winning layup with one second remaining.

Now: In second season as assistant women’s basketball coach, George Washington

To win a national championship, you need ...

A relentless attitude

“A relentless attitude of mental toughness that transpired directly from our head coach.  We believed in each other on the court and were willing to die for each other between the lines. When the opportunity to win it all presented itself, we seized the moment ... we believed.  In retrospect, yes, we had talent, yes, we were well coached, but it's not the stuff on paper that makes you 'the best.'  It's whole-heartedly believing in your teammates and your coaches to the point where you no longer care about yourself."

"Winning a national championship was the pinnacle of my playing career.  Coming back from a 13-point deficit and seeing NYU on top when time expired is something that still brings butterflies to my stomach and tears to my eyes.  Knowing that my teammates and I will forever be able to say that we were "the best" is something impossible to put into words.  I wear my national championship ring every day -- to this day.  I will never forget the joy in that locker room after the game.  Ten years later, as a college coach, I still watch my national championship team's highlight film every season before my first practice in October.  Remembering that feeling is too special to forget."

Next: Paul Erickson, UW-Platteville

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