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Spring 1998
That Championship Season
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Moore, however, quickly established herself as a leader and teacher, not a dictator. “I already had a feeling for the players’ strengths and weaknesses from having coached against them,” she says. “And they were extremely coachable. I didn’t have to crack the whip.”

Meyers and her teammates quickly adapted. “Billie treated each player as an individual in order to get the best out of them -- which is exactly how Coach Wooden worked,” Meyers observes.

Moore had one of the most talented rosters in the nation. There was Meyers who, though only 5'9" could play any position and was equally dangerous as a scorer, defender and playmaker. And there was ball-hawking, streak-shooting junior guard Anita Ortega, who earned the nickname “Juice” because her moves recalled USC’s already legendary football hero. Freshman Denise Curry established herself as one of the best players in the nation with a 20.3 scoring average. And sophomore Dianne Frierson, whom Moore switched to point from her natural off-guard position, kept defenses honest with her long set shots. There was also Heidi Nestor, who hadn’t been a starter until 6'3" Cyd Crampton broke both legs in an off-season car accident, but then proved a surprising offensive threat, as well as a defensive stopper.

In addition, Moore had top reserves in sophomore Denise Corlett, an all-around athlete who also won national titles in badminton and volleyball, and junior guard Beth Moore. Rounding out the bench were sophomore forward Tam Breckenridge and two freshmen, forward Debbie Willie and guard Janet Hopkins.

Moore instituted a nonstop run-and-gun offense, unusual at the time in women’s basketball. “I let any of the starters except Heidi bring the ball up the floor,” she acknowledges. The Bruins soon established themselves as the most dangerous scoring machine in women’s hoops, topping 100 points 13 times during the season -- good news for fans who earned free Big Macs for every 100-plus game. Moreover, the women played together smoothly as a unit. “We weren’t best buddies off the court, but on the court, we worked so well,” recalls Curry. “It was a team in the truest sense of the word.”

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