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NLU still finished the season in style, beating No. 3 USC to win the Northern Lights Invite in Anchorage, Alaska, but that was still another opportunity missed for Ok and her team to garner the nationwide recognition that many felt they deserved.
When Ok graduated from NLU in 1986, there was no professional women’s basketball league; the WNBA wouldn’t get off the ground for another 10 years. kind of got caught during that transition.”Even Ok’s professional career in European basketball was cut short when, well, life happened.
She won the Southland Conference Player of the Year every year at NLU between 1983 to 1986, a feat no other male or female basketball player has ever accomplished.
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inducted her in 2004.
With Ok on its roster, NLU held one of the best overall win-loss records in the nation at 102-15 and went undefeated in the Southland Conference for four years with a 43-0 record. In just her sophomore year in 1984, the wrote in 1985 that she was “one of the nation’s most exciting female players.”Dale Brown, a legendary college basketball coach who sent 32 players to the NBA as the Louisiana State University men’s head coach, said Ok was to women’s basketball what Pete Maravich was to the men’s game, referencing the former LSU point guard and Hall of Famer known as one the greatest creative offensive talents in history.“E. is the best female point guard I’ve seen,” said Brown, who coached Shaquille O’Neal at LSU in the early ’90s. They diagram plays and know it in their head, and make that pass two seconds later. She had it all.”Earlier this year, Ok, who works as an associate head coach for her alma mater’s women’s basketball team, became only the second basketball player at NLU to have her jersey in the rafters of Ewing Coliseum.
Leon Barmore, Louisiana Tech’s head coach at the time, told Lee after the game: “I’ll be the happiest person when you graduate. I was always ready to play against Louisiana Tech, so that I can make our fans happy.
Expect my flowers at your graduation.”“It was unbelievable,” said the star NLU point guard, now 51 and now E. Ok (her married name), recalling that momentous game 29 years ago. When we beat them, it meant so much for them.”Yet, almost 30 years after that game, it’s mindboggling to realize that Ok, quite arguably a living legend when it comes to college basketball, is hardly recognized outside of Louisiana.
Luck didn’t seem to be on Ok’s side, or perhaps, it’s more accurate to say she was simply ahead of her time.
After beating Louisiana Tech on that special night in March of 1985, Ok had to play with a bruised thigh in the following Final Four game versus Old Dominion.
Defensively, she held Teresa Weatherspoon, the Lady Techsters’ standout point guard who later became a four-time WNBA All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist, to just three points.