Hard Work Rewarded
March 26, 1999
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – During Monick Foote’s time at Virginia, she has taken care of businessin the classroom, and she now aims to handle some unfinished business onthe basketball court.
Foote, a fifth-year guard-forward for the nationally ranked Cavaliers,graduated in May 1998 with a degree in English language and literature.This year, the 6-foot Delaware native has taken courses toward agraduate degree in English, while returning for her fourth and finalseason of basketball for coach Debbie Ryan.
Foote had redshirted during the 1997-98 season due to a stress fracturein her right tibia.
“It has its positives and negatives,” said Foote, a former national highschool player of the year who is eyeing a pro career. “The positive is Iam healthy. The negative is I got rusty.”
Foote, who was averaging nearly 13 points and five rebounds a game as ofFeb. 9, said her offense suffered more than her defense during the yearoff.
She averaged 9.4 points and 4.0 rebounds as a first-year at Virginia,11.8 points and 4.5 rebounds as a second-year and 14.0 points and 5.4rebounds during the 1996-97 season as a third-year.
This year’s edition of the Cavaliers needs Foote’s veteran leadership onthe floor. Her game savvy was evident in then-No. 16 Virginia’s 69-55win at Maryland on Feb. 8.
Foote had missed the previous game, a loss at home to then-No. 9 Duke,after being taken to the hospital with abdominal pains. Tests forappendicitis were negative.
In the game in College Park, Virginia held a 41-33 lead midway throughthe second half when the Cavs’ Svetlana Volnaya hoisted a three-pointer>from the top of the key with 22 seconds left on the shot clock probably not the kind of attempt Ryan was looking for at the time.The ball bounced high off the rim and Foote, unchecked by the Terps, ranin from the left wing, grabbed the offensive rebound and then calledtimeout under the Virginia basket with several Maryland players aroundher.
After the Virginia timeout, Foote made a reverse layup to give the Cavsa 10-point lead. The Terps cut the lead to three later on, but Footeretaliated, pushing the Cavs back to a five-point advantage twice withina span of 43 seconds.
Foote finished with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds in the gameat Maryland, and also led the squad in offensive caroms with five. Shehad three blocks, and made three of four foul shots and five of 12 shots>from the field in just 26 minutes of play.
“She came on when we needed her to,” Ryan said after the game. “It wasgreat to have her back playing that many minutes.”
Foote was also forced to guard Maryland standout Kelly Gibson in theclosing minutes when other Cavs got tired.
“Our energy was low to start the game,” said Foote. “I was trying to putmy best foot forward. We had to dig ourselves out of the funk we werein” after a crushing loss to Duke four days earlier. The Cavaliers hadan 18-point lead in the second half against the Blue Devils, only to beoutscored 33-5 in the last 12:30 to lose by 10.
Earlier in the year, Foote put her best foot forward by reaching amilestone. She became the 17th Virginia player to reach the 1,000-pointmark for a career in the first game of the season against West Virginiaat home on Nov. 15. She had a team-high 20 points in the game.
She then missed two contests the next month with a pulled hamstringbefore returning to the starting lineup Dec. 21 and scoring a season-and team-high 22 points in 22 minutes of play against Radford.
As of Feb. 9, Foote was third on the team in scoring behind DeMya Walker(15.2 points per game) and Erin Stovall (14.4), and was second inrebounding after Walker (8.9 per game). Her 142 career three-pointersranked her second in school history behind Tora Suber, who had 220 from1994-97.
Foote hopes to play professional basketball, but has other options ifthat doesnit work out.
“I would like to play pro, but that depends on a lot of things,” shesaid, including whether or not she is drafted.
Foote stays in touch with former Cavs standouts such as Wendy Palmer,who played for the Utah Starzz of the WNBA last season, and realizeswhat is needed to step to the next level.
“I would have to get stronger,” she said.
If Foote doesn’t make a WNBA team she said she may look into coaching asa career. She is also interested in being a college English professor.In high school, Foote was Delaware’s top prep player as a sophomore,junior and senior, and led the Sanford School to a 21-2 mark and a statetitle in her final year. As a senior, she averaged 23.1 points, ninerebounds and five assists per game and was named the 1994 GatoradeNational High School Basketball Player of the Year. She had 1,609 pointsin high school, and Sanford was 77-12 while she was there.
Growing up she played at a recreation center in Wilmington that was alsoa training ground for at least four current Division I men hoopsters:Lenny Brown and Gary Lumpkin of Xavier, and Laron Profit and LaRonCephas of Maryland.
Foote said her greatest moment in sports was “losing the statechampionship in my sophomore year of high school. I discovered what itmeant to be the best and how much harder I had to work to achievegoals.” With her proven ability to work hard, Foote is sure to keepreaching her goals.
By David Driver