Synopses & Reviews
When Jody Runge, a young and ambitious basketball coach, arrived at the University of Oregon in the spring of 1993, she found the team the Oregon Ducks demoralized by its worst season in almost two decades, and ignored and underfunded in a male-dominated athletic department. The pressure on Runge was enormous: The Ducks had to earn the respect and recognition they needed to become a force in their league or decline into complete obscurity. While fighting a legal battle with the university administration for equal funding and support, Runge worked against the clock to improve the team's strategy and its collegiate standing. In the process, she taught the players the importance of self-esteem and commitment, and instilled in them a thirst for winning. As the players struggled with the pain of defeat, Runge put her career on the line by challenging the rules of collegiate politics. Game by game, the ragtag team built the strength that took them further than they ever thought they could go. And behind the scenes, their coach was maneuvering through a different, tough game of move and countermove, legal smarts, and gutsy cool against an establishment that wouldn't give in until it had to.
"Kessler has not written a hagiography: she makes clear that her subject is an outstanding coach for tough young women but a poor one for players who need stroking and reassurance." Publishers Weekly
"[A] riveting page-turner that should appeal not just regionally but to the burgeoning number of women's basketball fans." Library Journal
"An accurate and worthwhile contemplation on women's college basketball." School Library Journal
"While many big-time college sports powers' athletic directors are slow in accepting it, both Kessler and Runge make a strong case that athletes are athletes, regardless of gender." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] great sports book that captures Runge molding disparate personalities into a cohesive, successful unit. Arguably the best book yet on intercollegiate women's athletics." Booklist
About the Author
Lauren Kessler is the author of ten books, including Los Angeles Times best-seller and Oregon Book Award finalist The Happy Bottom Riding Club (Random House 2000), the biography of one of the most colorful women of the 20th century: pioneering aviatrix, Hollywood stunt pilot and bordello madame Pancho Barnes.