What a joy it was to accompany Laura to Norman this weekend for the Oklahoma women’s basketball reunion. Hearing “Laura Rushing Jacobsen, 1987 – 1990” and seeing Laura walk onto the court with a huge smile gave me some idea of just how important those years were in her life.
The cheers were loud and long for each of the 35 players that were introduced. The numbers would have been greater if not for storms closing airports in Dallas and Chicago on Friday forcing some to abandon travel plans. Only two other players from Laura’s years were able to attend.
That didn’t stop Laura from enjoying every moment. Friday evening, OU coach Sherri Coale had hoped to have a small and intimate gathering of alumni join her at her home in south Norman, but again the weather changed plans and the venue due the heavy snow-covered streets. Remember this is Oklahoma and from what we could tell, street plowing and snow shovel use is not high on Norman’s to-do list. The small numbers did allow Laura to quietly speak with the each of the alumni and enjoy a long talk with Coale.
Saturday’s game was against always pesky Iowa State. The large crowd that filled Lloyd Noble Center helped rock the LNC, as the throbbing videos like to refer to the Center now. Late free throws and a key defensive stop helped the the 11th-ranked Sooners come away with a 65-62 victory.
During Laura’s years, the crowds were much smaller and the success of the team fell far short of today’s high standards. Playing with a torn ACL and strapped with an antiquated brace, Laura’s college career never quite matched her illustrious high school career. Yet, there remains a certain three-point shooting percentage mark with her name in the record books. It will take some red-hot shooting to break that one. She would never tell anyone. That comes courtesy of her proud husband.
Laura is a Sooner to her core. That is what really matters. There is nothing more fun than to see her OU pride shine so brightly whenever we arrive on campus. We chose to drive back after the game and miss an evening dinner, but there was one final reunion moment that strangely involved me.
Sherri Coale had requested a group photo with the alumni and her current team on the women’s practice court built just outside their locker room. The honor was mine at Oklahoma’s request. Right there next to coach Coale stood my all-time favorite player.