For­mer Fayet­teville star has no re­grets

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - PAUL BOYD

FAYET­TEVILLE — Cari Tan­neberger Humphry re­calls only parts of Fayet­teville’s epic eight-over­time win over Moun­tain Home in 1994.

The 6-foot-1 se­nior poured in a game-high 36 points and grabbed 25 re­bounds, which still stands as a state record, to help the Lady Pur­ple Bull­dogs to their second con­sec­u­tive state ti­tle and earn Most Valu­able Player honors. That was a great en­core af­ter her 26-point, 13-re­bound per­for­mance in Fayet­teville’s over­time win against Bryant in the fi­nals a year ear­lier.

“There are mo­ments in that game I’ll never for­get,” Humphry said. “It’s noth­ing short of a mir­a­cle that I didn’t foul out.”

Humphry picked up her fourth foul two min­utes into the fourth quar­ter and played the fi­nal 30 min­utes of the 56-minute game with­out get­ting her fifth. She was the only starter who didn’t foul out of the game, and coach Mary Frances Kretschmar said her stand­out never came out of the game.

“I re­mem­ber tak­ing a charge in the fourth quar­ter, which was stupid,” Humphry said. “Then I looked up into the stands and, find­ing my dad, and he’s shak­ing his head

like ‘I can’t be­lieve you did that.’”

If that call had gone against her, Humphry wouldn’t have been around to hit a base­line 3-poin­ter to force a third over­time and make two free throws at the end of the fourth over­time time to keep the Lady Pur­ple Bull­dogs’ hopes alive. She fi­nally ended it by hit­ting a short base­line jumper late in the eighth over­time that proved to be the game-win­ner.

Kretschmar, like her star player, couldn’t re­mem­ber a lot about the game, but there was a theme — es­pe­cially in over­time.

“Ev­ery time­out, I would say ‘Get the ball to Cari. No­body shoot it but Cari,’” Kretschmar said. “Some of the girls had never been in that sit­u­a­tion. But I re­mem­ber Cari com­ing over to the bench say­ing ‘Let’s win this thing, I’m dy­ing.’”

Humphry, 41, said she fi­nally got her hus­band, By­ron, to watch the game 15 or 16 years ago — sort of. They dug out the old VHS tape, but the tape ran out be­fore the game ended. She also talked to her chil­dren about lessons learned from that par­tic­u­lar game.

“I talk to them about how it ended up re­quir­ing ev­ery­body, even girls that didn’t

get to play a lot,” Humphry said. “They played a big role in the most im­por­tant game we played.”

But that would be the fi­nal basketball game of her ca­reer. She turned down mul­ti­ple schol­ar­ship of­fers to stay home and at­tend the Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville.

She made a trip to the Univer­sity of San Fran­cisco to check out the school that Bill Rus­sell made fa­mous, but ad­mit­ted go­ing so far from home would have been a stretch. Humphry con­sid­ered play­ing at Tu­lane for aca­demic and ath­letic rea­sons. But the school’s coach left to take an­other job.

“Tu­lane had a good school of ar­chi­tec­ture, which is what I thought I wanted to do,” Humphry said. “My dad, who played for the Ra­zor­backs, coun­seled me. He said ‘This is fun for you now, but in col­lege it’s a job.’ He cau­tioned me, not be­cause he had a bad ex­pe­ri­ence. He was a re­al­ist.”

Humphry de­cided to stay at home for col­lege and got an ac­count­ing de­gree from Arkansas. She and By­ron have been mar­ried for 19 years and have three chil­dren — Hadley (12), Jude (9) and Vir­ginia (2).

She has put that de­gree to work, own­ing a busi­ness for a time and also start­ing a bud­ding art ca­reer. She sells her paint­ings on­line and works out of her stu­dio in her home in Fayet­teville.

“I took some art classes in col­lege, but I started paint­ing ev­ery day when I was about 30,” Humphry said. “I sold some things and that gives you en­cour­age­ment. I look back at those now and they were hor­ri­ble, but it gives you con­fi­dence. It’s a hobby that’s turned into a busi­ness.”

Humphry has no re­grets about her choice not to play col­lege basketball.

“I got asked the ques­tion a lot about why I didn’t play in col­lege,” Humphry said. “I loved to play basketball and had great ex­pe­ri­ences with my friends, but it was not the sum to­tal of who I was.”

Cour­tesy Shiloh Mu­seum of Ozark His­tory

Fayet­teville’s Cari Tan­neberger (42) takes a shot Jan. 18, 1994, against Rogers at Fayet­teville High School.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK

Kari Tan­neberger Humphry sits in her art stu­dio Thurs­day at her home in Fayet­teville. Tan­neberger Humphry led Fayet­teville High School to back-to-back state girls basketball ti­tles in 1993 and 1994. She scored 36 points and grabbed 25 re­bounds, which is still a state record, in the eight-over­time ’94 cham­pi­onship game. She chose not to play basketball in col­lege.

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