The University of Colorado women’s basketball player ends her regular season career Saturday against the Baylor Bears.
The California transplant has an almost innumerable amount of accolades.
With 2,031 points, she is just 37 points behind Lisa Van Goor on CU’s all-time scoring list. She is only the second player in team history to reach the 2,000 mark and to score 400 points in four consecutive seasons.
She has scored in the double-digits in 105-of-121 career games. She has started all 121 games of her career and holds the school title for most consecutive starts.
Spears ranks second in scoring and minutes, as well as in field-goals made and attempted on CU’s career list. She also ranks second in the Big 12 in defensive rebounds.
Spears would be justified in having a big ego with all her accomplishments, but as head coach Linda Lappe points out, she has always put the team before herself.
“It feels good to be breaking records I guess,” Spears said. “It’s even better just to be winning and making it into the post-season.”
Spears’ career with CU wasn’t easy. A coaching change and never having a post-season berth would discourage many athletes, but she stuck with the program, saying it’s because of her team.
“We weren’t having the best years, and it’s easy to walk away and go to a different school,” Spears said. “Staying shows how tough you are and how you believe in the program. If you stay, it shows you believe in your coaches and your team.”
Lappe said that during her four years, Spears has really come into her own, gaining confidence and getting more versatile in all areas of play.
“Nothing’s come easy for her,” Lappe said. “Even basketball – I don’t know that it came easy for her. She’s had to work at it. She’s had to shoot a lot of shots. Obviously she’s very talented. She’s got a physical, athletic body, but at the same time, she’s had to work for what she has.”
Spears said that she joked around a lot when she first came to CU, but has since found a balance between having fun and being serious.
“As you mature, you have to say certain things and carry yourself a certain way and just make smarter decisions,” Spears said.
Spears has always been a silent leader, but in her senior year, her team has seen her really learn to say the right things at the right time.
“I feel like she’s stepped up in the leadership role,” Lappe said. “I see her talking in huddles now and telling her teammates kind of what to do, what we need to happen. When she talks, everybody listens because she has a lot of good things to say.”
Fellow senior Britney Blythe said she wonders why Spears hasn’t been speaking up all along.
“When we got here freshman year, she didn’t say much, but did a lot of talking basketball wise, leading on the court,” Blythe said. “I think off the court is where she’s really stepped up. She’s now giving speeches to our team, giving us quotes and really important feedback on the court too.”
Blythe said Spears’ feedback is constructive and helps lead the team.
“She’s not afraid to say what she has to say, and I think that’s the biggest thing,” Blythe said. “When you have a leader that can show us on the court and also tell us, it really elevates everyone else’s game.”
Spears says that she hopes to leave behind a “good” name for herself at CU and will really miss her teammates as her time as a college hoopster comes to an end.
Lappe said she hopes to fill the Coors Events Center with loud Colorado fans as Spears and her teammates face Brittney Griner and the Bears.
“We’re playing the No. 3 team in the nation,” Lappe said. “The No. 1 most recognizable women’s basketball player is going to be in our building. We’ve won three in a row. We’ve beat two ranked teams so far this year. Our players are playing well, and it’s senior night. You couldn’t ask for anything better than that.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Marlee Horn at Marlee.email@example.com.