Feb. 17, 2004
The 2003-04 season has been about fun and games for Tasheika Allen.
“This year has been fun,” Allen said. “It has just been so crazy. We had that scoring record against Savannah State and to do something like that at the beginning of the year was really something. We were playing so good and then we sort of hit a slump, then we beat Duke. It’s just been crazy with emotions. One day you’re depressed and then the next, you’re on top of the world. I’ve never experienced anything like this.”
She even likens the team to a sort of a game.
“This team reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle,” Allen said. “You take it out of the box and the pieces are everywhere at the beginning. You try to put them in the right places, and at times, pieces are trying to fit in places that they aren’t going to fit, no matter how hard you try, because that isn’t how it is supposed to be. As the year has progressed, we are getting the pieces down and hitting our peak at the right time.”
When it comes to her personal life, however, Allen has decided to keep the games on the court. Tasheika married longtime boyfriend Ben Allen, whom she met her freshman year at Tennessee, in Huntsville, Alabama on August 1st.
“We are a whole lot more mature and so is our relationship,” Allen said. “We both just realized who we really wanted to be with. I just didn’t want to waste anymore time and play anymore games.”
The wedding was at dusk in a quaint chapel on a mountain. About 30 members of their families and friends were there and it was really relaxed just like Tasheika wanted it.
“We always knew we would do it, we just didn’t know how soon,” Allen said of her summer nuptials. “We were going to do it this April, but I wanted to do it sooner. I didn’t want it to be drawn out. It was just a matter of when and so why wait?”
As the happy couple prepared to walk down the aisle that day, Tasheika had some serious butterflies in her stomach. But so did Ben.
“I was scared, nervous and so sick,” Allen said. “I had been at home for a week getting things ready. The day of the wedding, I had to take Tylenol PM because my stomach was hurting so bad. I’ve always known (this was the right thing), but the day that you are going to do it, it really sinks in. This is not pretend. I stopped being nervous probably after I put on my dress at the chapel. Then somebody told me that Ben was really nervous too.”
Nervousness is not something new to Tasheika. She is nervous before every basketball game she plays.
“I have never been that nervous for any game,” Allen said. “I’ve been that way ever since I have been playing. If I am not nervous, than I am not going to play good. If I am too nervous, I am not going to play good. There has to be a balance.”
Balance is something Tasheika has enjoyed on the court this season. While she’s led the team in scoring a team-high nine times and scored in double figures 17 times, she hasn’t had to carry the offensive load all by herself. She’s had lots of help this year.
“I wish it was like this the whole time I’ve been here, because I know that we would just be playing much better,” she said. “I know when I tend to focus on one thing; sometimes it’s not good if that one thing is not going my way. This year’s team reminds me of my high school team. We had people who could do different things. We were connected and had chemistry. We were winning and having fun and that’s what I feel like now. I just have so much confidence in my team.”
As a team captain this season, her role has been to help build that chemistry and confidence.
“I know my role has definitely been to help Lauren (Bradley) because she is a captain too,” Allen said. “Our job together is to just click and support the younger players and show them the ropes, even though they are already doing it. I guess it’s just keeping everyone together and making everybody feel included because everybody is important to this team and it’s important to make sure everybody knows that they are.”
Allen has been important to the Florida State women’s basketball program and now, as her playing days at FSU draw to an end, she hopes to continue playing the game she loves on a professional level.
“I know I would love to get drafted,” Allen said. “I would love to play in the WNBA or play overseas. Ben may have another year at FAMU (playing football), so things are up in the air right now. We will have an idea what is going to happen in the spring.”
While the path that Tasheika’s professional life will take is yet to be determined, her personal life with Ben is more solid than ever.
“Ben’s my best friend,” she said. “We go to Fun Station and play video games. We play pool and football together. He’s everything. It’s like being married to your best friend who you love and are attracted to. I’m just really, really happy. Even though I don’t know what’s going to happen on the basketball end, I know I have a life with Ben which is something that is more important.”