Suddenly the arena fell silent. 58 seconds from the end of the national title game Shay Doron slammed into the arena floor and landed squarely on her elbow. The TV cameras immediately turned to the worried faces of Doron's parents in the crowd as their daughter lay still on the ground for 10 seconds.
But it wouldn't be long before the looks of concern would turn into expressions of delight. The 21-year-old Israeli basketball player had no intention of deserting her University of Maryland teammates in their moment of need. Doron left the game only momentarily for treatment on the sideline and was immediately back on court. "On the bench I began to feel my hand again, and then I knew I would be back in the game," Doron told The Jerusalem Post this week, reminiscing about what was to become the peak of her fledgling career last spring.
Doron's heroic display in the remaining seconds of regulation and in the five minutes of the overtime win against Duke University in the NCAA tournament final, puts her achievement above all others accomplished by Israelis in the world of sport in the last year. "I was at the top of the world, you can't describe the feeling, flying high after a long journey of five years," she said of the 78-75 win over Duke.
Doron was born in Tel Aviv, but left the country three years later when her family moved to Long Island. After being away for eight years the family returned to Israel and Doron joined Ramat Hasharon's basketball team. The young girl soon stood out and at 15 and a half was promoted to the side's senior squad. However, with a seemingly secure future in Israeli basketball, Doron chose to leave everything behind and go to America in order to develop into a better player. She joined "Christ the King" High School in Queens, NY, the only Jewish girl in the Catholic school. The gamble paid off and Doron quickly excelled, playing in the High School All-Star game and joining Maryland after graduation.
She immediately became an important piece in the team, averaging 13.5 points per game in her first season with the side. Doron was even better in her second season scoring 17.6 ppg. Last season she only scored 12.8 ppg but made sure she contributed to the team in different ways. Doron took 4.1 rebounds and passed 3.2 assists per game and her leadership on and off court was to be crucial in Maryland's march to the national title.
"I lead by example so it is easy," Doron said of her leadership skills.
Doron has one more year left in college, but has already got her sights set on her next goal, being picked in the WNBA draft. "I hope to play very well this year and I hope I will be drafted. It is up to the WNBA teams."
After her display in college basketball's biggest stage, they'd be foolish to pass on her.