Dec. 25, 2008
THE BEGGIN FILE
Who: Amy Beggin
Stats: 15.8 pts, 4.8 rebs, 4.1 asts
Born: April 21, 1988
Hometown: Maplewood, Minn.
Parents: Bryan & Mary Beggin
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The Pit has seen Amy Beggin types before. They have come and gone with names like Molly McKinnon, Nikki Heckroth, Mandi Moore. They are Lobos who for some reason possess just a little bit more fire and drive than some of the players who surrounded them, whether they be friend or foe.
In reflecting on this type of Lobo, you have to be careful not to offend while you are trying to compliment. It's not that Beggin is lacking in basketball talent or athleticism. The girl is beyond good. Lobo Coach Don Flanagan says she is one of the best point guards in the nation, not simply the Mountain West Conference.
But Beggin's talent is not overwhelming. Often, you can look on the basketball court and see better athletes than Beggin. Rarely, can you take that look and find a better competitor and that is the point that is difficult to make but maybe needs to be made.
Beggin's moxie, Beggin's determination, Beggin's inner spirit pushes her beyond the limitations of her talent. What make her special, is the talent that comes from her heart and that is a gift that will always exceed basketball.
"She has that special competitiveness," said teammate and roommate Angela Hartill. "It's a great trait to have."
Lobo fans have seen that trait, usually, and often fortunately for the Lobos, it kicks into high gear when a game is on the line in the final minutes and Beggin is trying to avoid what she has tried to avoid most of her competitive life.
"I don't want to lose. I hate to lose," said the 5-foot-6 junior. "I think a lot of that came from playing with my brother, who is a year older than me. We would go at it in our backyard and no matter what we would be playing, I hated to lose."
Beggin hasn't lost much over the years. She had success in Roseville (Minn.) High, lettering in basketball, soccer and softball and was a three-time all-state pick in hoops and softball. She could have played collegiate softball.
As a Lobo, she has played on two Mountain West Conference Tournament championship teams, two NCAA Tournament teams, and currently is a huge reason the Lobos are 11-1 heading into the 2009 MWC wars.
"Amy is a special player," said Flanagan. "She does so much for this team that goes beyond statistics. She is the heart of this team and they know it and they feed off it."
The 2008-09 Lobos team is kind of special, too. Like Beggin, they might be achieving beyond their talent and part of the reason is the unselfishness of this UNM team. They don't mind sharing the glory, or sharing the basketball, or praising their humble on-the-court leader. This Lobos team is smart, too. They know a good thing when they see it. They know that Amy Beggin makes them better.
"She is the glue that holds us together," said senior Amanda Adamson.
Said Eileen Weissmann: "Amy is very talented, but it's the energy and the passion she brings to the game that makes her who she is. She is all-out, full-out every game. That's why we nicknamed her the Energizer Bunny."
Beggin's energy and passion surely is contagious on the court, but Beggin's gift to this team also stretches past the lines. Her smile, which has a mischievous/playful quality, and her up-beat personality are way more consistent than her jumper. She is as good a friend as she is a teammate and a leader.
"It's been my privilege to play with Amy," said Weissmann. "She is there for you in so many ways and she always finds a way to get you back up, to make you feel good about something."
Said Hartill: "She is a great teammate, but she is one of my best friends, too. Amy is one of those people you just completely trust and you know will be there for you. Her personality on the court might be serious and competitive, but off the court she is a fun, goofy girl."
There is consistency in Beggin on the court and that quality often wins games for the Lobos. Beggin is clutch. She is brave. She is tenacious in her drive to win. And she is productive.
Beggin averages 15.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. She shoots 47 percent from the field and 45 percent from behind the 3-point line. She shoots 88 percent from the free-throw line and averages 35.5 minutes of playing time. She averaged 37.5 minutes as a sophomore. She is on the court for so much time for a good reason. She makes the Lobos better.
Beggin also is consistent off the court. "I have never seen her have a bad day and everyone has a bad day," said Adamson. "Sometimes people come to practice grumpy or something, but I`ve never seen that with Amy. She is always smiling, always positive, always energized. She is just an uplifting person to be around. You can always count on her smile."
Obviously, the Lobos also count on Beggin on the court and she rarely lets her teammates down. If need, she is more than willing to shoulder responsibilities during crunch time. In fact, she loves having the ball in critical moments.
"I like having the ball at the end of the game," said Beggin. "I like being the one who takes the shot or controls the attack at the end. I appreciate that my teammates have such confidence in me. That makes it easier to lead."
It's also easier on the Lobos to know that they have a player willing to lead and one who has the talent and the inner strength to be efficient in that role. That Beggin trait seems to give her teammates a calmness and a confidence in the heat of battle.
"Amy is clutch and we know it," said Adamson. "Whenever Amy has the ball, I`m comfortable. No matter what is going on, when I look up and see Amy with the ball, I`m relaxed. It`s like, `Oh, Amy has the ball? No big deal. We`re just fine.' "
Editor's note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous articles are available at The Richard Stevens Corner