Lockard, whose behavior can take the form of riding in the trunks of cars and embarrassing friends in airline terminals, virtually echoes the thought. "Nancy used to be hesitant about whom she talked to on campus," he says through the seagull mouth. "Now she still kind of looks around to see who's watching. But at least she's cheerful. She's a happy person."
After Rompola arrived last season from Sayreville, N.J., she, too, opened up some new doors for her current roommate. "Unlike everyone else, I wasn't afraid to tell Nancy she was wrong," says Rompola. "I thought of her as just people, not a superstar. We were point-blank with each other. Nancy relaxed, she learned how to have a good time and care about others. We're soul sisters."
Accompanied by Lockard, Rompola and the rest of the gang, Lieberman now finds time to catch some disco over at Rogue's Gallery on the Beach or drink the 25-cent beer special at the 4400 Club or join in the fun when the girls pan-fry a teammate's goldfish. She even hits a schoolbook now and then on her way to a major in marketing. Nancy says she is determined to earn her degree even though it will take her at least a full semester past this spring, when her class is to be graduated.
By that time the AIAW season will be over, the Lady Monarchs will have won another championship and the women's professional league—the New York Stars, the Chicago Hustle, the California Dreams, et al.—will be breathing heavily in anticipation of her saving grace. Still, Lieberman will have one more bridge to cross: the Moscow Olympics.
"That's what I'm playing for," Nancy says. "That's what I'm living for. That's the whole deal. When we beat the Russians...well, wow, that will be really something."
Of course, it would be history. Which is what Nancy Lieberman always said she'd make.