|By John Dudley, Erie Times-News, Pa.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Some business takes longer to finish.
Stevens, Division II women's basketball's winningest coach, finally won a title on her second try 37 seasons into what's already been a Hall of Fame career.
The last 28 of those seasons have been with the Falcons, with whom she's been to nine
Stevens, 58, said she resisted flashbacks at the end of Friday's 73-65 win over
Most of them lined the baseline at the west end of the arena, screaming as
"I wanted to stay in the moment, and I did," Stevens said. "At the end of the game, I looked at (assistant coach C White), who played for me here, and we both said kind of at the same time, 'Can you believe it?'"
Stevens' gamble to slap full-court pressure on the Lady Buffs, with her own team in serious foul trouble, changed the game. It was the kind of decision you make when you've been so close so many times before.
Her players sensed it, having already stared down the possibility of defeat when they fell behind 11-3 early and by nine with 51/2 minutes to play.
"I think we all looked at each other with six minutes left," said
All week, Stevens deflected credit to her assistant coaches and to her players, particularly the seven seniors who went 35-0 this season, 65-2 the past two seasons and 124-11 over the past four years.
Not that she needed validation after 916 wins, but she got it anyway.
Then the game turned, and her legacy was cemented.
"When I was standing there looking at the scoreboard at the end, I said, 'Am I dreaming? Is this real?'" Stevens said.
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