28 January 2004
Family, friends, coaches, and teammates of Cal basketball player Alisa Lewis (left) gathered at Haas Pavilion last Thursday (right) to pay tribute to No. 31 — a much-loved athlete who, as one player put it, “made her team better because of her determination.” Lewis died of bacterial meningitis on Jan. 19.
A star forward in high school who came to Cal on an athletic scholarship, Lewis was remembered for a strong work ethic, both on the court and in the classroom. “As a player, she gave her best every day…. As a student, she was determined to graduate from Cal,” head coach Caren Horstmeyer said of the Cal junior.
With Lewis’ name and the number illuminating the scoreboards above Newell Court, speakers at the noontime memorial recalled a young woman who loved The Lion King, children, Saturday-morning cartoons, and the color pink — which many wore in remembrance. Lewis’ warmth, optimism, energy, and infectious smile were repeated themes, as was the strength of her family.
Horstmeyer, on behalf of the University, presented a framed jersey and the team presented an autographed basketball to Lewis’ parents, Joe and Diane. The latter was quoted as saying of Alisa, “There is a basketball court in heaven, and she is on it.”
With the family’s blessings, the women’s team decided to play USC, as scheduled, in Los Angeles the following day — wearing black strips with pink lettering, and the phrase “A.L. 31” on their jerseys.
A scholarship will be established in Lewis’ name.