Nobody can pinpoint an exact date, but by mid-1989, everybody knew the transformation was complete. The University of Colorado Women’s Basketball Team had catapulted from the bottom to the top and no longer was the opening act for the CU Men’s Basketball Team.
The upgrade formula was known too—three 20-win seasons, a Big Eight championship, consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament, “believing” players and a mentor like former University of Kentucky basketball/field hockey standout Ceal Barry to make it all happen.
Finishing the 1988-89 regular season with a perfect 14-0 record, the 9th ranked Lady Buffs became the first Big Eight team ever to go undefeated in conference play. Their triumph in the postseason Big Eight tournament was the first in 20 years of CU basketball history and their string of 20 straight wins was just one game short of the school’s all-time longest win streak in any sport.
At the end of her most successful season since migrating from Cincinnati to Boulder in 1983, Barry owned a school-best and personal-best 27-4 slate and was 1989 Big Eight Coach of the Year. It was indeed a year to remember, especially when she later was named assistant coach for the 1996 U. S. Women’s Olympic basketball team.
MEMBERS OF THE 1989 CU TEAM
Crystal Ford—Big Eight Tournament MVP
Coach Barry now serves on the Sportswomen of Colorado Advisory Board.