Whatever happened to Rebecca Alvidrez
UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA ANCHORAGE PHOTO University of Alaska Anchorage assistant coach Rebecca Alvidrez converses with head coach Tim Moser during a game this season. Alvidrez, a former MSU star, also played for and coached with Moser at Otero (Colo.) Junior College.

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Before former Montana State basketball star Rebecca Alvidrez was one of the girls, she was one of the guys.

Alvidrez grew up in Albuquerque, N.M., playing basketball against boys in the neighborhood, mostly her male cousins. The private high school she attended for three years in Arizona did not have athletic teams for girls, so again she competed against the boys, starting for the junior varsity as a sophomore and for the varsity as a junior.

"The boys were glad to have me, because I could compete and play against them," said Alvidrez, 28, now an assistant women's basketball coach at the University of Alaska Anchorage. "It definitely helped to play against the guys. They're stronger and quicker, so you had to be tough."

But Alvidrez always wondered how she'd fare playing against women. So, the summer before her senior year in high school, she attended several basketball camps in Colorado. There, she connected with several young women who encouraged her to transfer to their Pomona, Colo., school. She did, and she helped to lead her new team to a second-place finish at the state championships.

Though she had limited experience in organized basketball at that point, her skills as a shooter and passer got the attention of Tim Moser, the head men's and women's basketball coach at Otero (Colo.) Junior College. She played point guard at Otero for two seasons, earning All-America honors after each.

That brought her to the attention of schools such as Kansas State, Auburn, Wyoming and Colorado State n and Montana State. She eventually signed with the Bobcats because of the attention she got from then-MSU coach Frank McCarthy.

"It seemed that whenever I played, he was there," she said. "Coach McCarthy took more time to recruit me and get to know me than any other coach."

Alvidrez proved to be a great catch for the 'Cats. She was Big Sky newcomer of the year in 2000-01 and was named the conference's top defensive player in 2001-02. She was first-team All-Big Sky both seasons.

She was MSU's co-MVP after her senior season. That year, she dished out 161 assists n the second most in school history.

"I played both guard spots in my basketball career, but I like playing point guard better," she said. "I like to pass a lot. But, obviously, you have to be able to score, too."

Alvidrez said she has one regret about her MSU career: The Bobcats switched coaches between her junior and senior season, from McCarthy to Robin Potera. It was tough, she said, because McCarthy was the coach who brought her to Bozeman.

After completing her eligibility at MSU (she eventually earned a degree from Adams State College), Alvidrez joined Moser's staff at Otero. She helped to coach the women and, not surprisingly, the men.

"I love coaching both," she said. "I think the guys pick up things a little quicker, and they can do a little more. But coaching is coaching."

Not quite done with playing, Alvidrez took a year's leave of absence from Otero in 2003-04 to play professional basketball in Sweden. As the starting point guard, she helped lead her team to the silver medal in the country's premier women's league. It was the highest finish in that team's history.

When Moser returned to UAA, his alma mater, in the spring of 2006, he asked Alvidrez to come along as his top assistant. She helped the Seawolves finish 23-6 that first season and earned a berth in the NCAA Division II tournament.

Alvidrez has not been back to Bozeman since she left in 2002, but she says she is determined to do so, especially after meeting MSU coach Tricia Binford on the recruiting trail last summer.

She said she also would like to see if a non-conference game between the two programs could some day be arranged.

"We have the Great Alaska Shootout, but I think it's the same weekend as (MSU's) tournament," she said. "But we're trying to do it."

Jim Cnockaert is at jcnockaert@dailychronicle.com and at 582-2690.

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