Sticking with it: After twice being cut from team, former Bruin leads UCSD | TheUnion.com
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Sticking with it: After twice being cut from team, former Bruin leads UCSD

Meaghan Noud has no doubt become a key cog in the success of the University of California, San Diego women’s basketball program.

But after arriving on campus following her final game as a Bear River Bruin in 2003, Noud was soon wondering whether she’d ever take the floor again.

And, perhaps, had she listened to the very coach who had recruited her – Judy Malone, who led the Tritons for 29 seasons – Noud would have likely not ever pulled a “UCSD” jersey over her head.



“I was a signed recruit,” Noud, a 6-foot senior forward who now leads the team in scoring with 17.0 points per game. “What that usually means is you’re automatically on the team.

“But she decided not to take me.”




After talks with her head coach and the school’s athletic director, Noud was allowed to stay on with the team as a redshirt freshman. But one year later, she still hadn’t earned a spot on the squad, at least in Malone’s mind.

“I tried out again, hoping my year of redshirting had paid off. But she cut me again,” Noud said. “I’ve never really recovered … I thought I wasn’t good enough or didn’t have the potential. It made me feel useless.

“It took me a long time to really believe in myself after that. For those couple of years I always had that in the back of my mind.”

But, oddly enough, after sitting out her second season of basketball, Noud got another chance when the Tritons coach of nearly three decades decided to leave. Her friends and roommates – who she had also once thought would be her teammates – told her to give her game a third try.

“They kept me believing in myself,” she said. “Hillary (Hansen) came into my room and said ‘Here’s your chance. We have a new coach. You’ve got to try out.’

“I felt like ‘whatever’ at that point. But it’s not about pride. It’s about playing and I couldn’t be afraid to fail again.”

Apparently she impressed first-year coach Janell Jones enough to finally earn that spot on the roster. And for the next two years, backing up Leora Juster, UCSD’s all-time scoring leader, Noud served as a role player for the Tritons.

But she was, at last, a member of the team.

And what a team it was. UCSD posted 50 against 10 losses over those two campaigns, as Jones led the Tritons to a pair of deep postseason runs – including a stop at the Division II National Semifinals in 2006-07.

“Coach Jones turned the whole program around,” Noud said. “We went from not being competitive in league to winning the conference. And we went to the final four last year.

“Once I made the team, I didn’t care about playing, I just wanted to be part of the team.”

Yet now, in her fifth year of school and playing for still another new coach in Charity Elliot, Noud is back on the court and leading the team in scoring. She’s also set a single-season record for 3-pointers made, with 69, for the 20-7 Tritons.

She has also applied to several medical schools and, so far, has been accepted at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.

Such new-found success is a far cry from that day she had played her final high school game, a 69-52 loss to El Camino in the section semifinals, so many years ago at Galt High School.

But for two tough years, it increasingly looked like that disappointing defeat was going to be the last game of her basketball career.

In the end, by sticking it out – and setting her pride and the fear of failure aside – she’s learned a lesson that she hopes might help current and future Bear River basketball players to dream big.

Then, she added, all they have to do is show the tenacity to make those dreams come true.

ooo

To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail bhamilton@theunion.com or call 477-4240.


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