Deep within the 2001-02 Arizona women's basketball media guide, one can find this quote: "The advice I'd give to my teammates is give it your all and have fun!" Never has a quote so closely defined a player as this quote defines Arizona junior Krista Warren.
Krista Warren is not, and never has been, a run-of-the-mill player. At Cloverdale High School, located in a comfortable town of 6,000 tucked away in the wine country of Northern California, Warren rewrote the record book. She scored 2,828 points, which was the best ever in her league, and she averaged an amazing 30.5 ppg and 12.9 rpg during her senior year. Here at Arizona, Krista hasn't scored as much, but her value to her team is indisputable. She currently leads Arizona in rebounding and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds earlier this season against Stephen F. Austin. She is Arizona's toughest player in the paint and rarely backs down to a physical opponent. Krista seems to find loose balls and attacks the baseline when she corrals it. In short, she gives it her all!
There is probably no coincidence that Krista's best basketball friend is fellow junior Julie Brase. Between these two, the Cats get 220% every night, and they both are deeply concerned about their team's current slump. If anyone is going to take the lead and get this ship turned around it will be Julie Brase...and, yes, her friend...Krista Warren.
Krista has won the respect of her teammates because she leaves it all on the floor. Her smile on and off the court has given her a unique presence on her team, one she describes as "the team mom." Whatever you want to call it, Arizona would be in a lot of trouble without Krista Warren. This is a player that gets, or nearly gets, a double-double every night. This is a player that plays hard from tip to buzzer and is the most active post-player on defense. This is a player that should definitely get recognition as an All-Pac-10 first team selection. I just hope the voters look past offensive numbers to the total impact a player brings to her team.
There is no question that Arizona is struggling greatly heading into its weekend games against Washington State, Washington, and UC Santa Barbara. It seems that, at times like these, everyone looks for answers. There is an answer, and her number is 35. You see, if every Wildcat played as hard as Krista Warren, wins would come much easier. If everyone cared about her teammates like Krista Warren does, there would be a deeper bond among the Wildcats. So, that quote in the media guide is good advice to all of us: "Give it your all and have fun!"
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Note: Please attend our next Joan Bonvicini Coaches Show on Monday, Jan. 21, to get your chance to win an appearance as a Wildcat guest coach! The show begins at 6 p.m. and comes live from the Varsity Clubs of America at Speedway and Alvernon. See you there!