Bianca Torre doesn’t know how many points she’s racked up in her past three seasons at UTPA, nor does she really care, but tomorrow night the University’s women’s basketball season tips-off and, with it, a new record will most likely
Eight months ago, as the women’s basketball season was coming close to an end, Bronc basketball fans packed the Field House to see history in the making. Then-junior guard Torre started the game 16 points behind the all-time leading
All Torre wanted to accomplish that February night was to beat Utah Valley, who had proceeded to talk smack about the Broncs since they last beat the Broncs 66-51 on the road.
After forcing the game into overtime and coming within one point of breaking the 9-year-old record, it seemed the audience would get their wish.
Just as Torre stole the ball from UVU and exploded across the court to complete a routine jump shot, she crashed to the floor. Although her teammates secured a win against the Wolverines (71-70 in overtime), Torre was unable to return to the game and had to sit out the rest of the season.
“My hamstring had been bugging me and I remember (Coach Downing) called a timeout and I didn’t even go to the huddle, I went to the trainer, and they stretched me out,” Torre explains. “I went back in and, a couple of seconds later, that’s when I got the steal and I was dribbling down and just did a jump shot and it gave out. Something just didn’t feel right.”
Although Torre ended the season three games earlier than planned, and one point shy, due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, she has undergone surgery and extensive therapy and is determined to leave it all out on the court her senior season. The Broncs start the season on the road to play UTSA, and should be the game where Torre shatters the record.
The Harlingen native, who has been playing basketball since the second grade, remembers watching her brothers Michael and Albert play hoops with his friends across the street and wanted to join in, but they would brush her off.
“I always wanted to play (with them), but they always told me that I was a girl and couldn’t play,” Torre recalls. “So I wanted to prove them wrong.”
The Bronc guard took it upon herself to seek help. A family friend, Frank Hernandez, who played basketball in high school and lived across the street from Torre, agreed to coach the 7 year old so she could play with
Torre would get up early in the morning and wake up Hernandez so they could practice and after school they’d go back at it, attacking the court.
Once in middle school and high school, Torre participated in other sports, like softball, volleyball and track, but basketball was still her passion.
Even though Torre’s mother never played any sports and money was tight at times, she registered Torre at The Boys and Girls Club and both her parents made sure to attend as many games as they could.
“Basketball was always different. I had a different feel for it,” Torre explains. “It just made me feel complete. I’m alive playing, nothing matters.”
Torre’s skills on the court drew the attention of South Alabama University, but something about living in the Valley always made her want to go to UTPA. After being rudely told by other high school coaches that the University’s basketball program wasn’t up to par, she decided she wanted to once again prove the naysayers wrong.
And that she has. Besides her assault on the record books, the program is on their winningest stretch of three years.
“I just want to be an inspiration, help people out. Especially, being from the Valley, they probably think that they can’t do things,” said the 5-foot-5 guard. “Like sports-wise too, because of their height or something. I just want to be an example that, whatever you want to be, you
can achieve it.”