During the 2003 Gonzaga Womens Basketball Luncheon, held on campus in the Cataldo House, Sunday April 27, three things became clear:
1. The 2003-04 Lady Zags will be loaded with more talent and ability and depth than any team before.
2. The achievements of the 2002-03 edition of the womens team were many and nearly broke every record in the books for Gonzaga's ladies.
And the biggie--
3. No longer will the team have its heart and soul, its inspiration and its true leader on and off the court.
In just three short years that saw Triana Allen struggle with the change from LA to Spokane, she is now listed in several top-10 school lists, most notably steals, assists and shooting.
But if you watched any of the games, it will be that familiar fist-pumping after causing a turnover, that vocal leadership on both ends of the court, that positive attitude even in dire situations, that dive onto the floor after a loose ball, and that little dance when another "W" is put in the column... Those are the things that will be missed the most.
We first met Triana during summer. The men were playing in pick up games. "Tree" was practicing her shooting on one of the hoops alongside the Kennel Court. While most others were home enjoying summer break, Tree was in a hot, stuffy gym working for hours on her game.
It was clear who the leader was.
Witty and charming, Triana Allen accepted the many awards that were earned and certainly deserved. She deflected personal praise, instead acknowledging others.
So while future teams have all the ingredients to capture a WCC Championship and berth into the NCAA Tournament, they can look back to the year Triana helped them turn that corner and raise their level of play, and thank her.
Hopefully someone will step up and assume the all-important leadership role that Allen embodied. Big shoes to fill, indeed.
Triana will be taking her LSAT as she focuses on law school, but plans to take some time off to recharge before her next challenge.
Good luck, Tree, and God bless. You may be gone but you will never be forgotten.