March 1, 2016
By Christopher Sich
Saturday, Feb. 20, was a nerve-racking day for senior Allie Tapanes. At 7 p.m., Dominican’s Women’s basketball team had their second to last game of the season against rivals Concordia University, and Tapanes was only 15 points away from reaching the 1,000-point mark.
“The closer I got, the more pressure built,” Tapanes said.
Tapanes ended the game three points shy of the milestone, but remained positive knowing she had one game left to play. Midway through the first quarter of the final game of the season against Wisconsin Lutheran College, Tapanes spotted up for a jumper and drained it, reaching her touted goal. Tapanes became the third player at Dominican, since the Stars joined the NCAA Division III ranks in 2000, to reach this milestone.
“It is a big milestone for me; it’s an amazing feeling,” Tapanes said. “After I reached the 1,000-point mark, a huge weight fell off my shoulders.”
Her journey to this milestone began at a young age. Basketball was the third sport that Tapanes picked up, and ended up being the sport she loved most. She began playing basketball when she was 10-years-old, and started playing fulltime when she began high school at West Chicago. This is when her skill came to fruition.
“Coach Walner, my high school coach, taught me a lot, and playing travel basketball helped take me to the next level,” Tapanes said.
As a senior in high school, Tapanes helped take the West Chicago Wildcats to regionals and also had a personal accomplishment of making the state finals in the 3-point contest.
After high school, college basketball was not in her plans. Her journey as a Star almost never transpired.
“At first I didn’t want to play college basketball, but I thought I would give it a shot,” Tapanes said. “I gave it a shot in fear of missing the game and missing out on the opportunity.”
Upon deciding to play college basketball, Tapanes knew she would have the endless support of her parents.
“My dad goes to every single game; his presence makes me keep playing,” Tapanes said. “I could not have done it if my dad did not go to every single game.”
At some points, it was hard for Tapanes to balance basketball and school. However, the acquired discipline, along with the support of her teammates and family, kept her on track even in the moments that tested her strength.
During her junior year, Tapanes injured her knee and her career was put on hold. The fear of a torn ACL made her question if she would continue playing. However, the diagnosis of a torn meniscus only made her miss a month and a half.
“My doctor said I would miss half the season, but instead I opted for a minor procedure and missed only three games,” Tapanes said.
Her perseverance through her injury exemplified her leadership skills and made her milestone exemplary.
“Being the senior naturally made her the leader of our team,” said junior Angela Evola, a teammate and friend of Tapanes. “She is our captain. She brought us together, and was an intense source of motivation. I was so happy for her because after four seasons, it was such an incredible accomplishment for her.”
The constant support from her teammates, along with the support from her family, helped Tapanes reach this special milestone. Her teammates have left a positive mark on her career and life.
After graduating, Tapanes does not intend on continuing her basketball career but she is grateful for every second of her journey.
“I couldn’t of done it without my teammates and parents,” Tapanes said. “I value every moment that basketball has brought and the journey that it has taken me on.”
Her 1,000-point milestone is in the books. Her basketball career may be over, but the memories and friendships Tapanes has made will last forever.