Lobo, Rebecca


Lobo, Rebecca
▪ 1996

      On Oct. 22, 1995, Rebecca Lobo received the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA's) Woman of the Year award for her outstanding achievements in athletics, academics, and community leadership. This capped a year in which the 1.9-m, 81-kg (6-ft 4-in, 180-lb) centre-forward Lobo led the University of Connecticut women's basketball team to its first NCAA title and a perfect 35-0 record through postseason play.

      While Lobo had help from fellow All-American Jennifer Rizzotti and future star Kara Wolters, she anchored the team with her season average of 17.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.4 blocked shots, and 3.8 assists. In addition to her 2,133 career points and two University of Connecticut records—1,268 rebounds and 227 blocked shots—she finished college as a Phi Beta Kappa with a 3.6 grade-point average in political science. But Lobo had heart as well as brains and brawn, making time for charitable causes and, always, her fans.

      For her efforts she was named Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Final Four competition, the Associated Press's Player of the Year, and the Naismith National Player of the Year. She also won the Wade Trophy for her leadership on and off the court. Lobo appeared on David Letterman's television show, had a street named after her in her hometown, and signed multiyear agreements with the Reebok and Spalding athletic equipment firms. In 1995 she joined the women's national team and hoped to earn a place on the 1996 Olympic team. If Lobo were a man, she would have been among the top picks in the National Basketball Association draft. As a woman, her professional choices were limited unless the attention and admiration fueled, in part, by Lobo got the new Women's Major Basketball League off the ground. Otherwise, she might play professionally in Europe.

      Born Oct. 6, 1973, in Southwick, Mass., Lobo was part of a close-knit family. Her sister, Rachel, was a basketball coach at Salem (Mass.) State College, and her brother, Jason, now a lawyer, played basketball for Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. Lobo began breaking records at Southwick-Tolland High School, becoming the all-time leading scorer—male or female—in Massachusetts state history while also managing to star in field hockey, track, softball, and academics.

      (ELLEN FINKELSTEIN)

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Universalium. 2010.

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