Doan’s swan song

By Scott Lepp

Perhaps Chris Harris of the men’s basketball team said it best.
"Leighann is really special; she’s so much more than just a phenomenal player. She leads by example, she has the respect of everyone on her team and the entire city of Calgary."

The numbers that Leighann Doan garnered over the course of her career are amazing–and consistently so. Over her first four years she averaged 20.7 points-per-game.

But scoring isn’t the only part of Doan’s repertoire; she’s a complete player. It’s not uncommon to see her bringing the ball up on a fast break, hitting the open cutter with a sweet dish or diving on the floor for a loose ball. Doan can do it all.

It’s February; the regular season is coming to a close and playoffs are around the corner. A player of Doan’s calibre could be basking in the bliss of a possible pro-basketball career overseas. She could be envisioning that paycheque and all those fans; an athletes dream. However, Doan’s mind is elsewhere. There’s a chance she might have played her last game in Calgary and this bothers her.

"You really start to notice everything happening around you," said Doan. You wonder if it’s ever going to happen again."

Women’s Head Coach Shawnee Harle now faces the task of finding someone to take the spot of the three-time All-Canadian.

"I don’t think that’s possible. We wouldn’t look at replacing her," she said. Harle tried to look on the bright side.

"We’ll just have to focus on the strengths of next year’s team."

Doan has managed to have an impact on a variety of people on campus. Men’s Head Coach Dan Vanhooren had the privilege of knowing Doan since she was a teen and can’t say enough about her.

"Even at 14 she could get up and touch the rim," Vanhooren enthused. "I just knew that she was going to be something special. She combines an amazing talent with humility. Every coach would love to have a humble star."

After this season, Calgary fans will never again see Doan nail one of her fall-away jumpers that she makes look so easy. While the rest of us are stewing over the thought of her absence, Harle is trying not to think of life after Doan and instead reminisce about the positive things she brought to the program at both a professional and personal level.

"I’ve learned so much from Leighann," she said. "It’s been very rewarding for me to coach her because I’ve been able to see her develop from a rookie into our leader and team captain."

Over her career, Doan won a plethora of individual awards. She started as a rookie, winning Canada West and Canadian Intercollegiate Athletics Union Rookie of the Year honours and has since blossomed into the best player in the country. All of these accolades mean a lot to Doan but as a team player there is only one thing sweeter than being the best player in the country; playing on the best team in the country. Doan would love to end her career by leading the Dinos to a National Championship.

"To finish off on a high note would be awesome," she smiled. "That would cap off what I consider to be a dream career."

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