Adrienne Goodson – Utah Starzz
As season began, Utah Starzz guard Adrienne Goodson was confident the playoffs were in her future. Head coach Fred Williams would build on the positive finish of the 2000 campaign and she and fellow veterans Jennifer Azzi and Natalie Williams would lead by example.
A month later the team was in chaos. Williams’ constant line up changes made players uncertain in their roles. “You can’t have 10 people who want to start,” explains Goodson. “Or,” she clarifies, you can’t start 10 people.” Goodson who, in her two years as a starter had produced 17 points and 5.7 rebounds while averaging over 32 minutes a game, inexplicably saw her time drop to 18 minutes. “I didn’t know what was going on,” she recalls. “I didn’t know why. I didn’t feel I deserved that. Personally, it became a battle.”
The team lost its drive and focus as their record fell to a disheartening 6-8. The playoffs seemed unattainable.
But then coach Williams stepped down and was replaced by Assistant Candi Harvey, and the team underwent a dramatic turnaround that resulted in Utah reaching the playoffs for the first time in team history, Goodson remembers an almost tangible feeling of relief in the face of Harvey’s directness. “It never felt like we couldn’t play together,” says Goodson. “We needed a leader to get on us – get on me for not playing hard.” And Harvey did just that, demanding full court play from all of her players.
Goodson remembers being furious when she was benched just as she was getting a hot shooting hand. Instead of letting Goodson stew, Harvey immediately went up to Goodson and yelled, “You have GOT to get in the passing lanes!”
“If she had something to say,” laughs Goodson. “She said it and you had to deal with it. And leave it on the court. That’s what she does – she leaves it on the court.”
“She came at me with the truth,” says Goodson. “She gave me back a lot of the confidence that I allowed to be taken from myself.”
After 13 years of professional basketball, the 35-year-old Goodson is considering life after basketball. But she is eager to see what happens under an entire season of Harvey’s coaching. “She’s old school,” says Goodson admiringly. “From the School of Hard Knocks. And that’s the type of coach I want to play for.”