USD Magazine, Winter 2004


Center of Attenti Marta Menuez is the Heart of Women's Basketball by Timothy McKernan Y ou know chose ESPN basketball high lights that show the star player pulling up 30 feet from the basket and dropping in a three-pointer ro win the game? Don't look for Marta Men uez ro be raking those shots. "My job is ro get big and get inside: play defense, be a strong rebounder and control the low post," says the senior of her role as cen– ter on the women's basketball team. "When I get the ball, if I don't have an open shot right away, I kick it out co one of the guards." How does Menuez feel about playing that role in an era when athletes mug for television cameras after making routine plays and care at lease as much about their individual statistics as the team's won-lost record? 'Tm great with it," she says without a trace of insincerity. 'Tm not a ball hog, because that's not the best way I can help my team. I

couldn't care less how many or how few points I score, as long as we win. If we lose, char scuff doesn't matter anyway. " Erik Johnson, one of the ream's assistant coaches, says Menuez's attitude is infectio us. "The coaches can go on and on about doi ng things with the necessary intensity," Johnson says, "bur when Marra pulls her ~ 5 teammates aside and says 'we're ~ not working as hard as we need ~ to be,' they really listen. She'll ~ work over a player during drills i in practice, and when it's over pull char person aside and give her pointers on how to get bet– ter. She makes our jobs as coach- es a whole lot easier."

such excellent condition char it is physically draining co scop her. She's only 6-foot- l , so she's not a cowering player, bur she is a night– mare co guard. " Doing the hard work on the court is not out of character for Menuez. The native of Bodega, Calif. , north of San Francisco, is on track to graduate in May with a double major in socio logy and anthropology - an accomplishment achieved in four years. Carrying a class load co complete two majors in rhe rime most stu– dents rake for one, coupled with the demands of intercollegiate ath– letics, makes fo r some very long days. Menuez's routine includes morning and afternoon classes and a two-and-a-half hour practice, fo llowed by a 45-minure session in the weight room. After dinner, there is always studying co do. "T here are times when I think it would be nice to just relax and not have school or basketball co deal with," she says, "but chose moments don't last very long. Having basketball as a release from the stress of school is actually very helpful." Menuez chinks about post-USD life and has contemplated follow– ing former Torero teammate Erin Malich inco Europe's professional leagues, bur for now her focus is on making her senior season one to remember for herself and her teammates. "I can't imagine what life would be like without my teammates," she says. "We're li ke sisters, and it is great knowing char you've got a fami ly char understands exactly what you are going through, because they are go ing through it coo. We are there for each other, and unless you've had something like char, it is really hard co describe. I wouldn't let any one of chem down, on the court or off. "


Marta Menuez equaled her career high with 26 points in a December double-overtime loss to New Mexico State.

Despite the unselfish attitude - or perhaps because of it - Menuez was second on the ream in scoring average lase year, earning honorable mention in the 2002-03 All-West Coast Conference bal– loting and finishing that season ranked in the wee cop 10 in both scori ng and rebounding. "We're talking about a player fo r whom our oppo nents have to design special defenses, " Johnson says. "Marta is so disciplined and in



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