'One Possession at a Time'

It’s the Monday after the 2022 Girls Basketball Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Sidwell Friends girls’ basketball coach Tamika Dudley sounds a little hoarse.

That’s understandable. Dudley coached the Quakers through two games against nationally ranked teams, culminating in a breathtaking 60-55 come-from-behind win against No. 2-ranked DeSoto High out of Texas. Sidwell Friends—No. 1 in the nation? It might seem impossible—unless you know this team.

“Our mindset is ‘one possession at a time,’” Dudley said. “Don’t think about the end, don’t think about what could be—just keep at it, keep at it.”

And keep at it they did. Down by six points at halftime, Dudley said they focused on making the most of every little opportunity, and those small victories led to a national championship, broadcast by ESPN+.

“I’m so proud of this team,” said Keith Levinthal, the David P. Pearson ’52 Director of Athletics at Sidwell Friends. “What a tough and resilient group. They’ve been working hard for months preparing for these challenging games. I’m so happy their efforts are being rewarded—and on national television, too.” 

Dudley credited the Sidwell Friends community for its support, including those who watched on iPads at home and alumni who braved the Minnesota cold to cheer on their alma mater.

Meanwhile, the girls’ season continues—in addition to balancing academic work, the team had games both the Monday and Tuesday after returning from Minneapolis—and, while wins aren’t promised, this is a team that embraces success in many forms.

“The players’ commitment to each other and their willingness to sacrifice is really special,” Dudley said. “They sacrifice for each other; there were kids who didn’t even touch the floor this weekend, but they were just as happy celebrating each other.”

You can read more about the girls' basketball team in the Washington City Paper and watch an interview with some of the players here.

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