Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, January 14, 2002


Ford’s success separate
from her famous father

By Grace Wen

Cheryl Ford looks like her father. She wears the same number, 32, as he does.

And like Karl Malone, she delivers for her team.

Ford poured in a game-high 24 points in Louisiana Tech's 67-55 win against Hawaii yesterday.

The 6-foot-3 junior scored Louisiana Tech's first points, muscling her way in underneath the basket. She dominated the boards, too, pulling down 17 rebounds and often following her own misses.

It was a pretty typical night for Ford, according to Louisiana Tech assistant coach Kurt Budke.

"For the last five games, it sure has been (typical)," Budke said. "It's really good fun going into the game knowing that she's going to get the numbers.

"You just don't realize how strong she is until she guards you. She spreads those arms out and she can pin you. We're an inside team. We're going to pound the ball inside until we get tired of doing it."

They never got tired of it as Ford helped the 11th-ranked Lady Techsters build a double-digit lead that never dropped below nine in the second half.

Ford took advantage of the Wahine, who were missing Christen Roper for much of the first half. The 6-5 junior picked up her second foul less than five minutes into the game.

"She was sitting on the bench and we could make a run with her on the bench," the soft-spoken Ford said. "I was a little nervous about her blocking my shots so I'm glad she got her fouls."

It's hard to imagine Ford nervous considering the numbers she's been putting up.

The junior averages 18.2 points a game and 10.4 rebounds, twice her numbers last year.

"I just matured a lot," Ford said. "I've been very focused and ready to play. I decided it's my time to step up and help my team out."

Not that her team has needed much help.

Louisiana Tech is in its first year in the Western Athletic Conference and the favorite to win the title. The Lady Techsters have defeated WAC opponents by an average of 30 points, which in large part is due to Ford.

"She's just very, very talented," Wahine coach Vince Goo said. "She's very good on defense, very good on offense. She's just an amazing player."

Not unlike her father, though Ford has been trying to forge her own identity.

"I'm just doing my own thing," Ford said. "I'm making my moves and all that stuff for myself. It has nothing to do with my dad."

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