Eagerness Defines Noe in Her Last Season

Jill Noe is returning to the Sun Devils Women's Basketball team for her sixth year, and no doubt enjoying every minute of it. After being a consistent presence on the court last season, her teammates will be depending on her as a key component to their success for the much anticipated year ahead.

Noe was a member of the All-PAC-10 freshman team in 2002-2003, but was forced to sit out the following two years due to an ACL injury. She returned in 2005 as if she hadn't missed a beat, leading the team in three-point field goals and tying for third in scoring, assists and steals.

You might think that after being on a team for six years, a player could become somewhat complacent. Maybe lose some of that hunger that often drives young players. In Noe's case it seems to be the exact opposite. She thrives of the fresh talent with a compelling eagerness to be there for her teammates. Her excitement was uncontainable when asked about how things felt on the court now that the team had begun practices. "We're all coming together," she exclaimed. "It's a joy playing with the new freshmen. Everyone is really excited to just get out there and put the uniforms on."

Coming off an Elite Eight finish there is certainly going to be a lot more hype, subsequently there are added pressures for the team to go all the way this year and win a championship. "There is a whole lot more pressure and higher expectations," said Noe. Although the senior maintains a competitive edge, she does not seem to let the demands get to her. "It's all overwhelming," admitted Jill. "We're just excited how far we went last year and to showcase all of our new talent this year."

One possible reason Noe remains unaffected by the external pressures is that they pale in comparison to those she sets for herself. "I want to exceed every expectation we set on ourselves last year," she declared. "I definitely want to make it to the Final Four- win a national championship- a PAC-10 championship. I've been here six years and haven't gotten any of those so I'm going all out. This is my last year, who knows if I'm ever going to get to play again. I'm going to work really hard, do whatever my team needs me to do and hopefully we can accomplish those things."

Noe has been a driving force on the team for six years, both on the court and from the sidelines. As a veteran player she has a wisdom that the more novice players have not yet developed. "I feel like I know a lot just because I have seen in it both on the court and also sitting back and watching for two years," the guard said. "I definitely try to add some information. I'm in their ear helping them with drills and telling them what they might be doing wrong. But I usually leave the coaching up to the coaches because they know it best."

The two years that Noe sat out because of her ACL injuries were a true test of not only her sportsmanship but also her unflinching character. When she easily could have let her bad fortune get the best of her, she chose to stay positive. "It's only as difficult as you make it," she said. "I stayed as positive as possible throughout the whole thing. I surrounded myself with good, positive people and it made my therapy go by that much better and my process go by ten times quicker. I just focused my energy on things other than my knee. I'm just doing whatever I can to keep my body healthy now."

As Noe is quick to point out, however, she hasn't always been bursting with maturity. "(Laugh) Six years, I have done a lot of growing since my freshmen year," she noted. "I was just an immature little freshman that thought that she could do anything. Now I'm more humble. I take a step back and look at things. I try to look at the bigger picture. I take care of my body ten times better. I've learned the game so much better since my freshman year. Everything just comes a lot easier now. I've made leaps and bounds educational wise and playing wise."

While the guard is unsure of her plans for the future, for now she is focusing on the present. Repeatedly she expressed her gratitude for the opportunities she has had as an athlete and as a student. Whether she will pursue her love of basketball after graduation or chose to apply her skills in a professional setting, she is determined to put her all into her last year here at ASU. "I'm just blessed everyday that I get to come out and put on a uniform," said Noe.

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