Prior to Alanna Buurma Bedingfield's arrival on Ashland University's campus in the late summer of 2000, the Eagle women's basketball program had fallen on hard times.
Four years later, those hard times were turned into the program's first NCAA Division II postseason appearance, and Bedingfield was a big reason why.
Bedingfield, who will be inducted into Ashland's Hall of Fame on Oct. 12, is one of just seven players in program history to post at least 1,200 career points (1,238) and 700 career rebounds (756). In addition to ranking 13th all-time in points and seventh all-time in rebounds at Ashland, Bedingfield is the second-best free-throw shooter (83.6) and has the fourth-best field-goal percentage (55.2) of any Eagle women's basketball player.
She was first-team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference twice, and All-GLIAC Academic three times.
In those two Midwest Regional games in March of 2004, Bedingfield became the first AU women's basketball player to record a D-II postseason double-double, and did it twice (19 points, 12 rebounds vs. Ferris State; 14 points, 12 rebounds vs. Lake Superior State).
"Going into it, you just want to win, and that was the main thing," Bedingfield said. "We were a great team together. We gelled so well. We just had such great leadership with the players and coaches. It was meaningful because we were first, but we just enjoyed the ride.
"Honestly, I don't remember knowing that they had really rough years before I came here. I felt at home. I had gone on a couple other college visits, and I honestly felt at home in Ashland, and a lot of that was due to coach (Sue) Ramsey. It was such an inviting campus and such an inviting atmosphere. You just get to know the people and fall in love with Ashland as a whole."
Bedingfield said Ramsey always put the team first and built a strong foundation – one which ultimately took the Eagle women from six wins in the season prior to Bedingfield's arrival to a 23-8 record and the NCAA playoffs during her senior season.
"From the moment I stepped on campus, it felt like home," said Bedingfield. "It starts there, people who just want to work hard. She definitely set the bar high when it came to work ethic and wanting more. And we saw little peaks along the way. We slowly built upon that each year."
Since Bedingfield's graduation, the Ashland women's basketball program has gone on to win two NCAA Division II national championships and play in four D-II national championship games.
"They've had so much success. It's exciting to have been a part of that past," Bedingfield said. "Once upon a great while ago, I was a part of that. It's a great feeling to be a part of that."
As for when Oct. 12 arrives, and Bedingfield is in the Faculty Room at the John C. Myers Convocation Center for induction, she said, "I can't even imagine that at this point. I don't love talking in front of people, so I am a little nervous about that, but it's going to be a big honor, and to be a part of such an elite group is an honor and a blessing, so I am looking forward it.
"I guess as a player, you never think about that. You are excited to play and to win, so you never think about the awards. Hall of Fame isn't something you really think about."