By Scott Lepp
Loyalty, versatility, respect and love. These are just a few of the words that Head Coach Shawnee Harle uses to describe two of her fifth-year players, Alison McGinn and Sarah Williams.
The 22-year-old McGinn joined the Dinos as a freshman out of W.G. Murdoch high school in Crossfield, Alberta. Harle started watching McGinn in her grade 11 year and just knew she’d be right for the program.
"Even in high school she was just one of those players," said Harle. "Every team needs an Alison McGinn."
The enthusiasm displayed by Harle was duplicated by McGinn as she was eager to play at the U of C.
"I came and watched a game in grade eight and ever since then it was my goal to become a Dino."
After serving in the Calgary area as a full-time teacher, and with one year of eligibility remaining, Williams’ love for the game enveloped her.
"I felt the desire to compete [again]. I wanted to live the dream of a National Championship and Calgary seemed like the place to do that."
Coach Harle loved what Williams brought to her team.
"She brought maturity and experience. She made teams think twice about playing a zone defence."
Spending five years at one school playing the same sport can leave one with numerous memories of the good and bad times. McGinn says that 10 years from now, when she looks back at this time in her life, what she’ll miss the most about playing ball is "the friends, the girls on the team."
McGinn may not be the all-time leader in points for the U of C women’s basketball team, but she did do something that no other had done before. She started at all five positions at some point during her career as a Dino.
Harle knows first-hand about McGinn’s willingness to do anything to help the team.
"She never asks what can the team do for me? It’s always, what can I do for the team?"
After four years playing for St. Francis University, Williams decided it was time for her to hang up her kicks and get on with her life. She became a teacher in Calgary and had been doing that for two years before she decided to give that all up and become what she called a "poor struggling student" again. She just couldn’t get away from the game. Coach Harle really valued this characteristic of Williams.
"You have to love basketball a lot to give up what she did. The biggest thing I respect of her is her love for the game."
There’s going to be no more three-point bombs by Williams as she’s planning to start teaching as a substitute. Since taking a risk by quitting her job and playing more basketball, Williams wants to do a few more exciting things as well.
"I’d like to take some more risks. I’d like to travel abroad and see the world."
As for McGinn, well, she still has to finish with her schooling.
"I’ve got two more years to go. Then I’m going to pursue a career in nursing."
Sure these two lady Dinos are complete opposites, but it was obvious what they shared and what made them and the team so special–their love for the game.