March 27, 2009

By Lara Boyko

Special to NCAA.com

 

One team is still weeks away from earning its one shining moment as the 2009 NCAA Women’s Basketball National Champions, but for 6-foot-3 senior center Sybil Dosty on the Arizona State women’s basketball team, she has had enough moments from basketball to last a lifetime.

 

“I feel like I’ve been able to experience a lot,” said Dosty. “From going to Tennessee and the Final Four, being the last person off the bench, being a starter, injuries and having to sit out for a year. I feel like I have gone through a lot, both good and bad. I feel blessed right now for the experiences that I have had.”

 

Before a majority of the memorable experiences for Dosty occurred at the college level, the first moment of her basketball career was humbling.

 

“I remember playing YMCA basketball with the boys when I was 6-years old,” said Dosty, who is a graduate student at Arizona State in Liberal Studies. “I definitely shot the ball at the wrong basket probably more than once when I was young. Also I remember not getting the ball passed to me that much probably because I was a girl. I just ran around confused out there.”

 

Fortunately for Dosty, her confusion on the court ended there and through time, practice and hard work, found herself in a moment that not too many players get to experience.

 

“I remember the first time Pat Summit called my house and it was pretty intense,” said Dosty, who played at Tennessee from 2004-06. “I was excited and surprised.”

 

“At that time I think that the Tennessee program would be able to bring the best out of me as a player and I wanted the chance to win a National Championship and play in the Final Four. I got to play in the Final Four as a freshman. When you are new to a program like that and go into an experience like that you are in a little bit of shock, even now I look back and realize that I didn’t know what I was doing there.”

 

Yet even with as exciting as it was to play in the 2004 Final Four, after Dosty’s sophomore year she realized that her next memorable moment on the court was going to come while wearing a different uniform.

 

“It was a few different things, one of which was that I wanted to come home and play so my parents could see me play,” said Dosty. “Tennessee is stacked where everyone – from the last person on the bench to the starting players – could start on different teams. I wanted a bigger role and I felt that at Arizona State I could contribute.”

 

It was this moment that not only made Dosty and her family happy, but also Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne.

 

“I was very excited, but I was a little bit guarded as I didn’t want a player to come here just because they thought the grass was greener here,” said Thorne on Dosty wanting to transfer to the school that was her second choice coming out of high school. “I wanted to talk to her about why. I felt great about it and the rest is history.”

 

Transferring to Arizona State was a homecoming for Dosty, who grew up in nearby Tucson, but it also meant having to experience not one, but two of the most difficult moments a player can endure.

 

“I sat at a year due to transferring and then three or four weeks before I was going to be able to start playing, I hurt my knee,” said Dosty. “I tore a meniscus and I had bone issues because of the past knee surgeries (including tearing the ACL in both knees in high school) I had. I had worked the whole year to get ready and felt ready to start playing. Then to be on crutches for six weeks after my surgery and having to wait another few weeks before being able to start playing.”

 

Yet even with her knee problems taking their toll on her body, Dosty’s spirit was unfazed.

 

“The first game I played in was when we were at North Carolina and I only playing eight or 10 minutes of the game,” said Dosty. “I was nervous and excited as I had been sitting out for over a year so I was ready to get back out there.”

 

Since returning after that last knee injury, Dosty has only improved. During the 2007-08 season she finished the season as Arizona State’s leader in rebounding (6.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (.540). After having good moments on the court during last year, Dosty also got to enjoy a very special moment off the court.

 

“It was great and exciting as I was able to finish my degree which is really what you come to school to do,” said Dosty who completed her BIS studies and walked in the 2008 graduation ceremonies at Arizona State. “The fact that I was able to finish my degree was really great for me and my parents were probably happier than I was at the time.”

With Dosty back home and another year of eligibility, she has continued to make everyone around her proud by continuing to excel. During the 2008-09 regular season, Dosty led the team in rebounding (7.0 rpg), blocks (1.3 bpg) and field goal percent (.548) and was fourth in scoring (8.5 ppg). In addition, she was recently named the Toyo Tires Pac-10 Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the year. Yet for Dosty, who with her teammates will take on No. 2 seed Texas this Sunday in the Sweet 16, there is more to come.

 

“It is a huge game and I don’t feel nervous, but more anxious and excited to play,” said Dosty. “It’s hard to travel so far to New Jersey and then have to sit around for a day to think about the game. As soon as the ball goes up I don’t feel any nerves because it’s time to play. I’m excited and feel our team is going to do well. No matter what our team is going to play tough and give it our best. Hopefully my most memorable moment is yet to come.”