Saturday, May 12, 2007

Warriors Girl Dances into the Playoffs 

Posted by James at 4:48 PM ET

By Lori Gilbert
Stockton Record

The extra photographers that have surfaced for the Golden State Warriors playoff games have taken away her baseline seat on the floor of Oracle Arena, but Stockton's Alexis LeBeouf isn't complaining.

Even if her view of the best story in the NBA as a member of the Warrior Girls now comes from the tunnel rather than courtside, the 20-year-old doesn't mind.
Alexis, Golden State Warrior Girls
"It's just awesome to be part of it," the Saint Mary's College junior said.

LeBeouf was just hoping to take her dancing to the next level when she auditioned last July for the 16-woman team that performs at each home game, but now she's smiling at movie stars Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson when she steps on the floor during breaks at the Warriors playoff games.

"I love that they were there," said LeBeouf, a fan of their movies "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," "You, Me & Dupree" and "Wedding Crashers."

Even before the celebrities began showing up courtside, LeBeouf said she's loved her first year with the dancers.

"My favorite moment of the season was when we made the playoffs," she said. "They were at Portland and it was a free event at the Arena for anybody to come. It was intense. People just watched it on a big screen, which they could have done at home, but they came out."

Her second-favorite moment was the celebration that ensued after the Warriors beat the Mavericks in Game 6 to clinch their opening playoff series.

"I looked up in the stands and saw people crying," LeBeouf said.

Even someone who hadn't been a Warriors fan - or a fan of any NBA team before this season - could understand. Getting to know the players during shared visits with hospitalized children made her as loyal as any long-suffering Warriors fan.
Alexis, Golden State Warrior Girls
"They're nice guys," she said. "During a hospital visit with Matt Barnes and Andris Biedrins, you see a whole other side of them. During a game they're aggressive and mean and tough, but sitting there with children who have leukemia, or children who can't speak, they're completely different people."

That they have such a loyal following doesn't suprise her. She marvels at the the folks she calls "the best fans in the NBA," whose enthusiasm has grown with each playoff game.

"It's loud. You don't get your hearing back until the next morning," LeBeouf said. "You have to yell to speak to the person next to you."

That the Warriors season has been extended for the first time in 13 years is fine with LeBeouf, even if it means the cancellation of a family reunion later this month.

It's just one of the activities she's willingly sacrificed - along with movies with friends and student activities on campus - for what has amounted to a full-time job.

"It's been worth it," she said.

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