I lost it the moment I spied Moriah Jefferson in the post-game aftermath of the Nike Nationals championship. It was the end of a long summer in 2011 and, sobbing, I told her, “Mo, you are going to have to hold me up.” And she did, so we embraced for a long time, crying together.
What moved me so was that Jefferson and her teammates on the DFW T-Jack team out of the Dallas area had delivered on their vow to capture club basketball’s biggest prize in memory of their fallen coach, Marques Jackson, who’d died of a heart attack in April, 2010.
Jackson had been the first big supporter of a fledgling business I started, HoopGurlz, the first media outlet to cover high school girl’s basketball on a daily and national basis. He’d stood up to the sport’s old guard to do so. We’d shared a vision of empowering girls and women by illuminating their work and accomplishments. His death had been a major blow.
It’s because of Mo Jefferson and her Connecticut teammate, Bria Hartley, that I’ll watch the 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball championship game with a box of tissues. Both lost their club basketball coaches, and both coaches were friends and supporters of mine.