The 2004-05 Washburn women’s basketball national championship team never minded sharing the spotlight with one another.
With a roster full of stars, the Lady Blues sacrificed statistics and accolades to form one of the greatest teams in Washburn sports history.
In that respect, perhaps it was fitting that two key members of that championship squad got to celebrate their Washburn Athletic Hall of Fame inductions together.
Carla Sintra-Freeman and Brooke (Ubelaker) Terick, starters on the ’05 team, were enshrined along with former All-America football player Trey Lewis on Saturday morning at Washburn’s Memorial Union.
“When I heard Carla was getting inducted too, I was really, really excited. To get to do that together, after playing together with her, is really cool,” Terick said.
“We all had such chemistry on and off the court. We all just genuinely got along and enjoyed each other. That translated once we got on the court. Once we stepped on the court we were able to feed off each other and play well together. We really just meshed well together.”
Terick and Sintra-Freeman were first-team All-MIAA selections in the 2004-05 season, which saw WU go 35-2 and claim the school’s first NCAA Division II national title.
“Coming to Washburn was kind of like a love at first sight,” Sintra-Freeman said. “I had interviews with other schools, but when I came here I knew we had something special going on. Coach (Ron McHenry), during my recruiting visit, he said, ‘We can win the national championship if you come play for us.’
“And I thought, ‘Well, that’s a lot of pressure.’ The day we won the national championship he said, ‘I told you so.’ That was very special to me.”
Sintra-Freeman, a Brazil native, was a senior on that squad, averaging 13.5 points and 8.6 rebounds, earning All-America honors from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. She was the MIAA’s most valuable player and the most outstanding player during the Elite Eight in Hot Springs, Ark.
“Carla just had this personality where it was all about fun and bringing excitement to the game,” McHenry said. “She played the game with flair. She just had it and she fed it to her teammates and they fed off of her. Just never had a bad day.
Sintra-Freeman, who transferred into the program before her junior year, said it didn’t take long to find her place with the team.
“When you talk about a role, it’s easy to come in and be a post player when you have a great team,” Sintra-Freeman said. “We just had fun. Obviously my skills brought a little something special to the team, but my teammates all knew what to do.”
Terick ranks third in career scoring at Washburn with 1,848 points and her 236 3-pointers are the most in school history. She went 122-12 with the Ichabods and holds the MIAA record for career starts with 134.
“Brooke was one of those players that does so many things so easy that you just don’t think she’s doing something as well as she is,” McHenry said. “Being able to shoot and make that many 3s in her career, without even shooting them in high school, just tells you a little about her game. She played well with good players because she knew how to move without the ball and she knew how to handle them. That group had a lot of good players, so if you wanted to do your own deal, it was going to be real hard to do. Brooke just fed off of them and played well with them.
Terick, who was a sophomore on the national championship team, was a three-time first-team All-MIAA pick and was part of three MIAA regular-season championship squads and three MIAA tournament championship teams.
The forward from Osborne was a first-team All-American by Division II Bulletin after her junior season and also earned All-America honors from Daktronics and the WBCA during her career.
“I didn’t really know what to expect at all,” Terick said of coming to Washburn. “There were all these changes happening. I’m going from this small town to this bigger city of Topeka, and just that alone I was nervous about. Coming to this school and trying to find where I would fit in, I didn’t know what that would look like. But Coach Mac said from Day 1 he wanted to win a national championship.