Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Whatever happened to .....ODU's Bettina Love?

She only played at Old Dominion two years but left the impression she was filled with potential.

There's not a doubt that Bettina Love has fulfilled it.

Says Love's former teammate Natalie Diaz, "Love is going to change the world."

Love came off the bench for ODU at a time when the Lady Monarchs were the fifth-ranked team in the nation. The 6-2 forward/guard from Rochester, N.Y.,  transferred to Pitt in 1999 and became a vital part of the Panthers her final two years, leading the team in blocks and starting 18 games as a senior.

"I fell in love with academics," Love says. "I decided that was going to be my primary focus at Pitt. I still loved playing basketball. I just found a new passion and went with it."

Despite transferring, Love was able to graduate from Pitt in four years, but sitting out due to NCAA rules left her with a year to continue studies beyond her bachelor's. Despite the demands of basketball, she loaded up on 20 hours of prerequisites toward her master's degree in elementary education.

"It was an awesome experience leaving college with two degrees," she says.

From there, she taught school before completing her doctorate in educational policy studies from Georgia State.  Currently she is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia, where she remains passionate about social justice.

Her first book, Hip hop’s li’l sistas speak: Negotiating identities and politics in the new south, is due out later this year. The book examines how African-American girls understand body, class, sexuality and politics in the south.

"We're at the end stages," she says. "I'm very excited."

In addition to her work, Love is a mom. She and partner Chelsea Culley-Love are parents to 2-year-old twins, Chanson and Lauryn.

They will no doubt grow up appreciating of women's basketball. Love follows the game as much as her time allows, occasionally attending Atlanta Dream games and went with former teammate Lady Monarch Nyree Roberts to Tennessee's game at Georgia last winter.

She has fond memories of her time at ODU. While "It wasn't the place for me," she admits, she has never forgotten the support of the Lady Monarch fans.

"It was an unbelievable place to play basketball," she says. "We had more fans than the boys team. It was a crazy place where women's sports were appreciated. We were on a pedestal. Not that many places are like that. It was an unbelievable experience to be the top dog at your university as a female playing sports."

Wondering what happened to a former player for one of Virginia's teams? Email us at and we'll try to catch up with her.

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