Maddy DuBois in the 2019 State Tourney (Photo by Don Borin)
For starters, let's talk about the "Mademoiselle" nickname. I covered Maddy DuBois' four-year basketball career at Woodinville High School from 2105-2019. From day one, every time I pronounced her last name, I reflexively said the French pronunciation "DOOb-WAH". But nobody within a 2,700 mile radius of Woodinville pronounces it that way. Everyone says "Duh-boyz". No matter how much I reminded myself, I couldn't snap out of it. If someone had offered me a briefcase filled with $10,000 cash and coupons to The Pizza Coop, I couldn't have self-corrected. It was too hard-wired into my brain. So in grand French tradition, I waved the white flag and chalked it up to those years in my twenties when I was bumming around Montreal and Quebec City.
It was at the end of Maddy's sophomore season that I started calling her "Mademoiselle" in-print and in-person. A sort of homage to my linguistic hangup.
I spoke with her again the other day, as society remains locked down in coronavirus limbo. She'd just finished her redshirt freshman season as a guard at Seattle University. I'd seen her work so hard to get a Division-I scholarship that I wanted to learn more about the journey.
I began the interview by reading aloud an excerpt of an article I wrote for the Woodinville Weekly two years ago:
The girls basketball team had their season-ending banquet in the school commons. As the evening came to a close, players and their families milled about. Nobody was in a hurry to leave.
I was standing with Coach Scott Bullock, talking about the Seahawks. Suddenly, Maddy DuBois zipped by us with a big grin. She was dressed formally and had her hair up. “Bye coach!” she said. Bullock called out to her and they exchanged an inside joke.
DuBois then sprinted up the stairs and disappeared into the night.
Bullock turned back toward me.
“Do you know where she’s going?” he asked.
“To practice!” he said with his trademark smirk. “This season’s barely over and she’s already getting ready for her senior season. She wants a scholarship!”
Hearing this read aloud, DuBois got emotional. She harkened back to the fourth grade, when she'd written down a list of goals. Among them was making it to the WNBA, and earning a Division I scholarship. "It's crazy to think about it now," she said.
In her middle school years in Duvall, she was a sharpshooter. "I loved basketball and couldn't get enough. I was a total gym rat," she said.
But by the time she began playing for Woodinville High School, the growth spurt she might've hoped for wasn't materializing. At 5'6", she realized that might be it in the height department. "My mom is 5'5" and my dad is 6'5"," she said. "I thought if only my dad had married a taller woman!"
During the winter months, DuBois played for the Lady Falcons. In the spring and summer she worked hard with her AAU teams. At the end of her sophomore season, she had a good showing in Woodinville's loss to Bellarmine Prep at the Tacoma Dome. Bellarmine coach Kevin Meines was asked about her.
"That’s the best shooter I’ve seen in a long time on the first day of the tournament," Meines said. "She was comfortable, you could tell. She had a lot of confidence and she was able to knock down some big shots.”
DuBois would play in the state tourney two more times. In her junior season, the Falcons reached the state championship game before losing to Spokane Valley. The big moment for DuBois came in the quarterfinal game against defending state champ Kentridge.
As I chronicled in the Woodinville Weekly:
The game went into another grueling overtime. Woodinville trailed 54-52 with two seconds left on the clock. The next moment would change their lives forever.
Regan Schenck was inbounding the ball, looking first for Hughes underneath. But Hughes was covered and moved to the high post to set a screen. Schenck spied Maddy DuBois coming open outside and passed her the ball.
“I came off those two screens and [the defenders] lost me,” DuBois said. “I was like oh my gosh I’m open! And Regan hit me in the sweet spot and I let it go. I could see it was dead on. I was like, that’s good, that’s in! The place erupted, oh my gosh it was crazy! I peed myself a little, I’m not going to lie.”
As the ball swished through the net, the buzzer sounded. Pandemonium broke out in the arena. The entire Woodinville team stormed toward DuBois, mobbing her near half court.
“That was the best feeling ever,” DuBois said. “Everyone was screaming I LOVE YOU! And I was like, I LOVE YOU GUYS! We need to come out to play for each other, and battle. That’s the big thing for us.”
DuBois' senior season ended with Woodinville again returning to the state tourney, and this time as a #1 seed. But the magic from the previous season was not to be found. The Falcons dropped two out of three games and left the Tacoma Dome disappointed.
DuBois called her Woodinville coaches, Scott Bullock and Sam Moscatel the best coaches in the state. "Sammy and Scotty we called them" she said. "We called the them `the dynamic duo'. We couldn't have gotten luckier playing for them."
But now with high school basketball over, what was next? After three years of camps and trying to get looks, future plans were murky. Hopes of playing for the University of Portland fell through.
She emailed the coaches at Seattle U. She got a response back.
"I was like, no way!"she said. "I was thinking that Seattle U would be my dream school. Close to home, a small school and Division I... I went to one of their camps, and talked to them after. They said `We really like you. Our roster is full. But if you can hang in there, pay for your first year, then we'll pay for your remaining four years with a scholarship'. I was like, `Wow! Yes!'"
DuBois moved onto the Seattle campus in July 2019. Once school started in the fall, she found the hardest part of the student-athlete life to be time management. "Getting adjusted was pretty hard for me," she said. "But the fact that I redshirted and didn't have to focus on playing time was huge for me. I could learn what the coaches wanted from me, how to be a good leader, a better player, etc."
Seattle U finished the season with a 13-16 record. They traveled to Las Vegas and beat Utah Valley in the first round of the WAC Tourney. But then the coronavirus situation led to a cancellation of the whole event. The season abruptly ended.
The current lockdown means DuBois and her teammates are hunkered down in their family's homes. "The team has become like a second family," she said. "The hardest part is not being immersed in that environment every day. Seeing a teammate taking twenty extra shots or lifting more weights, and getting inspired by them. Pushing each other to get better. It's harder to hold yourself accountable when you're apart [from your teammates]."
As of this writing, it's unclear when Washington will begin to re-open all businesses and play sports again. As the saying goes, `On n’est pas sorti de l’auberge!" (Loosely translated means "We're not quite out of the woods yet!")