Cleveland Rockers Little Giant
by Carolyn Mostyn

Tricia Bader Binford

Now that the season is over, Tricia has returned home to Boise, Idaho where she and her husband Todd Binford live. Todd is an engineer technician for the city of Caldwell. "It is hard to live apart, but the season is short and Todd works long hours so he can take time to come visit me every few weeks," Tricia says. "God really blessed me with a man like him because it takes a special person to let someone follow their dreams, and at the same time he is sacrificing in order for me to do this." When Tricia is home in Boise, she and Todd watch as many movies as they can, "We both love to watch movie's, My dad loves movie's. We love to hike, camp, walk on the beach, we just love the outdoors," she said. Todd and Tricia were introduced by Todd's sister who is a coach at BSU.

At the tender age of 11, Cleveland Rockers point guard, Tricia Bader Binford set her goals to become a basketball star. As early as Tricia began walking she began to snow ski, later competing in downhill racing. Continuing to grow, she added more sports such as volleyball, track, basketball and soccer. Seventh grade was when Tricia made her decision that basketball would become her sport and she started on the road to the pros.

Tricia has two siblings, an older sister and brother. Her sister was a good role model being the oldest of the three, her parents raised them with good values and in the church. She attributes her toughness to her brother who would throw her against the garage door while playing basketball and never made it easy on her.

Her high school career proved that her 5'4" height was not going to be a detriment, but an encouragement to her determination to make basketball her career. The thrill of playing for a three-time state championship team {Roaring Fork High School} was extended last year when December 8th, was declared as "Tricia Bader Binford Day" by the city council in her hometown of Carbondale, Colorado. On that day, they retired her jersey.

Boise State University recruited Tricia with scholarships to this Division I school. Even though many told her she was too short for the game Tricia Bader became a well known name in this Idaho community. The announcer at Boise State nicked named her "Bader Mader" which is what he announced after every basket she made. For the first time ever the BSU Women's Basketball Team went to the NCAA championships. Tricia was Idaho's NCAA Woman of the Year in 1996 and in 2002 she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at her alma mater. Tricia matches her list of athletic achievements with an equally impressive list of academic achievements and has a degree with honors in criminal justice.

Binford went on to play pro ball in Australia. She enjoyed Australia and the people there. She said, "they love American's and treated us great." When the United States formed a WNBA, she came home to continue her dream of playing pro ball. First with the Utah Starzz's, then in 1999, came to the Cleveland Rockers. She likes Cleveland and the team she plays with, but misses the small town living and the mountains. It is with the 2002 Rockers that Tricia had the highlight of her pro career. The Rockers were traveling with a losing streak and really needed a win against the Seattle Storm. When Tricia entered the game, the Rockers were trailing and she played the most minutes ever in her career. The importance of this game was not only the minutes Binford played, but the fact there were many friends and family members there to support her. "It was so nice to have a big game in front of a lot of people that have contributed to my success, including my college coach," said Tricia. The Rockers went on to Storm Seattle winning 62 to 58.

In the off season, Tricia does a lot of work with kids including being active with the D.A.R.E. program and forming her own basketball academy. She also coaches at Boise State and does public speaking.

At the same age that this future professional athlete decided basketball was her sport, she also made a Christian commitment and accepted Christ into her life. Probably the biggest growth in her Christian walk was in Australia. "Stepping off the plane was pretty scary. Not having family and friends there, I remembered God is always with me and He took care of me," Tricia explained. " It was there that I read and studied the Word more, making it a part of my daily life, my favorite Bible verse is Colossians 3:23-24."

Binford feels that her life's dream would never have come true without God's help. She is a determined person, putting God first in her life and says never giving up in tough times has proven to be worthwhile. Being on the road makes it hard to get to church every week, however, the Rockers chaplain conducts Bible studies through out the season. "Over three quarters of the team usually worship together," Binford said, "and there is a chapel in every franchise and it is a part of the teams preparation to go to chapel."

When Tricia is on the court she says, "I always play hard whether it is in practice or in front of thousands of people, I concentrate on playing for God. He has blessed me with a talent and I use it for His glory. I know He is in the stands watching. He supports me if I make twenty shots or have four turnovers."

Tricia's four rules for life is encouragement for youth who want to achieve. " One, if you have a passion for something, set your goals and go for it! Number two, nothing is ever easy, you have to work for it. Number three, never give up, the road is full of ups and downs. And four, keep your belief in God, with Him anything will be possible."

September Home