The agony of victory
White-McCarty injured in final minutes of Purdue win
Posted: Wednesday April 07, 1999 08:05 PM
SAN JOSE, Calif. (CNN/SI) -- It wasn't exactly how Stephanie White-McCarty wanted her college career to end, but she got the most important thing - a national title.
The Purdue guard, who has been so instrumental to the Boilermaker's success, was forced to watch her teammates from the bench for the last five minutes of the national title game.
White-McCarty, second on the school's scoring list, went down with an ankle injury with less than five minutes remaining and was not able to return. She sat on the bench clutching an assistant coach's hand as Purdue defeated Duke 62-45.
She squirmed on the court, and spit her mouthpiece about 10 feet away as play continued. When play finally stopped, she was helped to the bench by teammates.
Her face writhing in pain, she sat on the bench as a trainer took off her left sneaker. White-McCarty then went to the end of the bench and had her ankle heavily taped, but she limped severely when she tried to walk around the bench.
White-McCarty, who had 12 points in the game, then took a seat on the bench next to assistant coach Kerry Cremeans, tightly gripping the coach's left hand and still looking agonized.
After the win, teammate and best friend Ukari Figgs helped White-McCarty -- who was on crutches -- up to the victory stand as the Boilermakers received the championship trophy.
"Steph got hurt and we rallied around her, and that's the way this team goes," Figgs said.
Figgs then also helped White-McCarty hop up four rungs on a ladder to become the first Purdue player to cut down part of the net at the San Jose Arena.
"This is what we stayed for," said White-McCarty, who remained at Purdue when many players left the team as it switched coaches twice during her tenure. "The special group we have on this team makes it really nice and really special. It's been a lot of fun."
White-McCarty had X-rays on the ankle after the game, and missed the post-game interview session. But coach Carolyn Peck said her star shooting guard left the arena happy.
"I can tell you she's a happy young lady," Peck said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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