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Anne Stephens Stands Tall Among Her Peers

At 6 feet, 4 inches tall, Anne Stephens is taller than six out of UC’s 13 basketball players — on the UC men’s team. As the tallest woman ever to letter in basketball at the University of Cincinnati, center Anne Stephens certainly stands out in a crowd. But she’s outstanding in more ways than one.

Date: 2/28/2005 8:00:00 AM
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Andrew Higley
Head coach Laurie Pirtle agrees. “She’s a neat kid,” says Pirtle. “An all-around great person.”
Stephens pauses between classes at the College of Business.
Stephens pauses between classes at the College of Business.

Stephens is one of four co-captains on the team this year. She exudes quiet leadership, both on and off the court. An accounting major in the College of Business, Stephens takes her courses as seriously as she takes her court. With a GPA approaching 3.8, Stephens is considering graduate school when she graduates next year.

Her senior year at UC will be special for a number of reasons. One of the numbers is 6’3” — the height of her newly recruited younger sister, Jill. Stephens’ sister, although shorter than Anne, was considered one of the top 50 prospects in the country this year. Stephens is obviously proud and pleased at the prospect of sharing the court with her sister again. Both played basketball back for Parkersburg South High School, West Virginia, where their father (Scott, who played basketball at University of Pittsburgh from 1974–76) coached them. Stephens thinks she’d like to coach someday, as well.


“It’s been my life for so long, I don’t know what I’d do without it,” says Stephens. She would love to keep playing, but admits that opportunities for women basketball players are limited. Some former Bearcats have gone on to play overseas or for the WNBA, but not many.

Stephens took accounting in high school at first because the basketball coach taught it. When she got to UC, she decided to take some accounting classes to see if she still liked the subject.

“I did,” she says, smiling.

Before considering graduate school, she would like to get some work experience, something that her athletic dedication has not left a lot of room for. Despite her busy schedule, however, she has managed to squeeze in community service in Cincinnati through CPAWS, the Committee to Promote Athletic Welfare and Success. Her CPAWS activities have included bowling with kids, “Make a Difference” Day and even painting a church.

Stephens listens to Coach Pirtle at a recent practice.
Stephens listens to Coach Pirtle at a recent practice.

“We really have a good time,” says Stephens.

Stephens has also enjoyed her UC experience. “We have a good program here,” she says. “Laurie, Dawn, Bret and Michelle really help you out. We’re like family. It’s a fun atmosphere, but we know when to get serious.”

 

That time to get serious is now, too. The regular season ends at second-place Louisville on Feb. 25, but the Bearcat women are not done. The 2005 Pepsi Conference USA Women's Basketball Tournament opens on March 3 in Charlotte.  No doubt Stephens will be leading the way.

Watch out for Stephens as the Bearcats take the court for C-USA.
Watch out for Stephens as the Bearcats take the court for C-USA.

Just look up.

 

Learn about the Conference USA Tournament