Apr 032005
Authors: Joelle Milholm

The Avalanche hasn't done it since 2001. The Broncos haven't done it since 1999. The Nuggets have never done it, and the Rockies, well, just don't hold your breath.

But Colorado does have a new champion in the Chill. After beating the Dallas Fury 77-70 on Saturday night, the Chill is the 2005 National Women's Basketball League Champion.

But this champion is different than what Colorado is used to. This team did it with a minimal budget that cowers in comparison to the Avs' or Broncos'. These players don't play for the fame. They don't get the recognition.

The Chill won the NWBL's Pro Cup because the team used two powers that the other pro teams don't have: the power of playing with a true love for the game and the power of the she-mullet.

The basketball passion that was exhibited at the Budweiser Events Center was immeasurable. In front of 2,200 fans, the Chill players had fun because they love the game. No one is in it for the glory, just the love. Everyone works together, playing for each other. Chill forward Katie Cronin made one of the best diving saves I have ever seen just to get a pass to Becky Hammon on a fast break. As she threw her body in the air, she disregarded the consequences of what would happen when gravity kicked in.

Cronin spent the entire game smiling and laughing, enjoying every single moment. Oh, and she also managed to score 19 points and hold Anna DeForge, Dallas' leading scorer, to a 12.5 field-goal percentage in the first half.

The real love could be seen after the game, when the team was celebrating. Everyone hugged each other, complemented each other, and no single person took the glory. As the champagne corks flew (which came from inexpensive bottles of Andre to represent to amount of money the NWBL has), every player's smile stretched from ear-to-ear.

But there is the second power that the Chill posses, which almost rivals the first. I had no idea the amazing powers of the she-mullet until I witnessed it Saturday. Exhibiting the business-in-the-front, party-in-the back, classic mullet complete with a black Nike headband, Chill forward Erin Shutlz provided a spark that crushed Dallas.

In the midst of an attempted Dallas comeback, Shultz came in off the bench to end it as quickly as it began. In only 13 minutes of play, Schultz scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds. The most remarkable part of Shultz's game was her dominating presence under the basket. Although it can't be found on the stats sheet, Schultz owned the paint. Whether Dallas was scared of the she-mullet, or intimidated by her astounding energy, or maybe a mixture of both, the Fury couldn't find a way to score on her.

At the press conference after the game, Dallas head coach Nancy Lieberman credited Shultz with maintaining the Chill's second-half lead.

I don't know if Shultz gets her powers from the mullet or if it just complements her attitude on the court, but she was key to getting the Pro-Cup title.

The combination of playing for the love of the game and the amazing powers of the she-mullet has given Colorado a new champion. As long as Hammon, Cronin and Ruth Riley keep leading the Chill and Shultz keeps sporting the mullet, we could be witnessing the beginning of a dynasty. And it is all because of the love and the she-mullet.

Joelle Milholm is a senior technical journalism major. She is the sports editor for the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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