"Recognition drives Nancy," says Nissen. "I found out early it meant everything to her to be 'it.' At first I tried to be friends with the girls; Nancy tried to be friends with the newspapers. Well, it was difficult. But we used to have a team of nothing players; I would have gone bananas without Nancy. Now everything is 'team' with her. Oh, we'll still get in leisure-time games—you know, playing against stiffs—when she and Rhonda [Rompola] will go into their clique routine, and so me and Angie [Cotman] won't let them see the ball for a while. But when we need to, all the bull gets thrown out and we band together again. Every summer that we have come back to school, I'm amazed how much Nancy Lieberman has grown up."
There it is again. Growing Up. Nancy Growing Up.
Harry and Pam Lozon, Lieberman's older, married friends in the Norfolk area, say the same thing. Wes Lockard, Nancy's great friend, a hilarious fellow who wears a seagull outfit at games on behalf of WTAR radio, says it as well. Even Nancy herself says it. "I've changed. I've learned. Of course I've grown up. Isn't that what college is all about?"
Lieberman says she changed her mind twice about transferring from ODU because of the Lozons and Lockard. Harry is "Mad Dog" Lozon, a former Coast Guard and ODU player who had a cup of coffee with the Houston Rockets as Calvin Murphy's roommate. Lockard is "Crazy Wes," a walking comedy act whom Nancy first met on campus during a driving rainstorm when Lockard was carrying an umbrella without any material on top and wearing canvas shoes with giant toes painted on them. Lockard had turned down an offer to attend Ringling Brothers' clown college, but he wasn't the seagull just yet.
"How're you doing?" Lieberman said.
"The scars are healing quite well," Lockard said.
It isn't Nichols and May, but a zany relationship has flourished.
What the Lozons and Lockard did in Norfolk back then was provide an escape hatch for Lieberman at a time in her life when she needed security and protection and a lot of laughs and a little love. At the Lozon home in suburban Virginia Beach, Nancy could get away from school and basketball and notoriety and the memories of her bramblebush teens. She got away a lot. Now she does her laundry there. She watches TV. She plays with the Lozons' small sons and with the dogs. Harry and Pam have taken Nancy camping and fishing and water skiing and gotten her drunk at a Redskins game. Harry and Pam call Nancy "Super Jew."
When Nancy accidentally broke Rompola's nose last season during a playful scuffle, Harry said, "You did the impossible, Super Jew. You broke a Polack's nose."
"Nancy's the daughter of the family," says Lozon. "Before this, I don't think she ever had anyone close that she could trust. She had always been treated like a spoiled child and she had to learn all kinds of situations for herself. Now she has come out of her shell. She knows how to show affection. She is just a real person."