The basketball world of Andrea Stinson spins at only three speeds: fast, faster and see-you-later.
A case in point: In a game against Maryland last year, North Carolina State trailed the Terps 76-75 with about 10 seconds left. Nearly everyone in Reynolds Coliseum thought the Wolfpack would call a timeout to set up a last shot. Everyone, that is, but Stinson, who took the ball, dribbled up the floor around three Terps and fired a 16-foot shot that hit nothing but net to give State the 77-76 win.
There were still three seconds left on the clock when Stinson made the basket, meaning that she had moved about 80 feet around three obstacles and gotten off a shot in less that six seconds, allowing about one second for the ball to drop in.
"I had no idea how much time was left," said Stinson, who will lead the third-ranked Wolfpack into Cole Field House to meet Maryland Saturday at 7:30 p.m. "I really wasn't paying attention to the clock. I just kind of took it at ease, only to find out that there was only about five seconds left. If I had known that, I would have rushed my shot."
Stinson, a 5-foot-11 senior guard, has been called the female Michael Jordan. N.C. State coach Kay Yow understands why.
"The reason she's compared with him is her speed in the open court and the way she finishes," said Yow, who also compares Stinson with former Georgia player Teresa Edwards, generally acknowledged as the best women's player in the game.
"She's very creative and can use either hand and get off a very good shot," said Yow, who guided the American women to a gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. "I think the thing that sets her apart is her speed with the basketball. There are often times that she passes players just sprinting down the court and she passes them with the basketball. That's such an advantage with our transition game."
Her speed isn't surprising when you consider she was a track star in junior high.
"She can go from standing still to 'boom' and there she is down the floor," said Maryland coach Chris Weller, who has won eight ACC titles. "I hate to compare players . . . but for her position, she's as good as I've ever seen."
Stinson, an All-America pick last season as well as ACC Player of the Year, has won the last two ACC scoring titles and is the favorite to win this year's race, averaging almost 25 points a game. She has scored in double figures in all but three games in her career.
Plus, after scoring 30 points in State's 79-69 win at North Carolina yesterday, she is within 191 points of the 2,000-point mark for her career, even though she missed her freshman season because she failed to qualify under Proposition 48 guidelines.
And while the accolades accumulate, Stinson -- who wants to try out for the 1992 Olympic team and then play professionally overseas -- is slightly bothered by the lack of attention accorded to the women's game.
But she is encouraged, seeing hopeful signs in the recent crowd of 11,520 in Raleigh that saw the Wolfpack lose to top-ranked Virginia 123-120 in triple overtime. It set a school and ACC women's record for attendance.
"I am proud of the way that women's basketball has improved," Stinson said. "When I first got here, no one even thought about the women. But we had more fans for that game than the men draw for most of their games."