KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Somewhere packed in the boxes from her moves between Iowa and Colorado, Linda Lappe has a snapshot of a moment that changed her life.

The photo is of a teenage Lappe posing with Ceal Barry as an attendee of the legendary Colorado coach`s summer basketball camp in Boulder.

"I came to her camp going into my senior season," Lappe said when asked if she remembered her first encounter with Barry. "I was able to meet her and get my picture taken with her, like all the other campers do. I probably still have that picture somewhere."

Thirteen years later, Lappe was running the same camp at the age of 30. She is the youngest head women`s basketball head coachat a BCS conference school and the third-youngest overall.

Barry was 28 years old when she was hired on April 12, 1983, exactly 27 years to the date Lappe took over the program her mentor put on the national map.

Lappe, wise beyond her years, isn`t afraid to ask Barry for advice. She even consulted her on what to expect at the Big 12 media days events here at the Sprint Center.

"She is a great coach, she did a tremendous job at Colorado, and she is a huge help to me now," Lappe said of Barry, who is now an associate athletic director at CU. "Not many new coaches have someone they can trust and rely on as much as I do her."

Lappe played for Barry from 1998-2003. The prep legend from Burlington, Iowa, was a CU team captain who averaged 7.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.


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0 assists over 115 games while helping the Buffs play in three consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

That run included CU`s last Elite Eight appearance. Lappe remains close with many of her teammates, and the group gets together at least once a year.

"What was special about that team is we clicked with each other. We were all very close off the floor," Lappe said. "We`re not just like the guys. They can not talk and then when they come together on the floor they can be best buddies. I`m not sure women can really do that. They say they can, they think they can, but I`m not sure they can be as good of a team if they`re not good friends off the court, too."

Lappe is trying to build that type of chemistry again in the program. She will make sure the Buffs are fundamentally sound, defensive-minded and smart with the ball. But ultimately the players have to be internally driven to win for CU to be a factor in the Big 12 or Pac-12 standings going forward.

"When I was a player we wanted to get to places other teams before us had been. We knew there had been another Elite Eight team and we had the talent and the heart to get there," Lappe said. "I think this year`s team has a desire to get better and they have positive attitudes. ...

"I can`t wait to see what we`re going to be like in January."

Lappe chose to lead by example as a player until her senior season when Barry needed her to speak up in the locker room and huddle more often. So she can certainly relate to Brittany Spears, the Buffs` quiet star of today.

"Being a vocal leader does not come natural to her and it was not natural to me," Lappe said. "But by the time you are a senior you should be able to do that and have to be able to do that in some cases."

Spears attended the Big 12 media day events alongside Lappe. The talented forward spoke about the respect she has for her new mentor.

"She doesn`t say, 'I want you to do this because I`m the coach,'" Spears said. "It`s more like, 'I went here and I have pride in the school and I want you to have pride, too.`

"It makes you work that much harder."