When Alysha Devine takes the court for the UAA women's basketball team, she is tressed to thrill.
A junior forward from Wasilla, Devine has game — and she has mane. Her thick, blond hair almost takes on a life of its own as Devine runs the length of the court, jumps for a rebound or tangles with an opponent.
Even when tied in a ponytail for games, the hair hangs below her waist — and Devine, who is 6 feet tall, is anything but short-waisted.
Sure, all of that hair can be a chore. But the daughter of Mike and Amy Devine said she's committed to keeping her hair long for the duration of her college career.
"My dad always says it's my trademark, and I have to keep it," she said.
Devine unofficially leads the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in hair, and she is among UAA's leaders in scoring (fifth with 7.2 points per game) and rebounding (5.2 per game, which ranks her 15th in the 11-team GNAC).
In 22 games this season she has blocked 11 shots, although the nickname Goldiblocks has yet to take root.
In a recent interview with Devine, things got hairy.
Q: When's the last time you cut your hair?
A: I usually cut it every six months, just a trim. All throughout my younger years and childhood I had really short hair, about shoulder-length. I started growing it out my junior year of high school. I decided I wanted to keep it long after my freshman year of college.
Q: How long is it in inches?
A: I have not ever measured it, but you know, it's getting down there to my butt. It's pretty curly, so I bet if it was straight it would be even longer.
Q: Why don't you braid it for games?
A: If I were to braid it and it whipped me or another person in the face, it would blind them. It's definitely a weapon. I've definitely blinded myself a couple of times.
Q: Has it ever come into play during a game — a defender pulling it, someone stepping on it during a scramble, getting it caught under your arm?
A: There are times when it's super-annoying and I say, "I need to cut it all off." There's been practices where I've gotten into a dogpile and someone's on my hair and I can't get up till they get up. One time at practice it got stuck to someone's bobby pin and I was stuck to them for a whole half-court.
Q: How long does it take to brush through the tangles after a game?
A: I tend not to brush through my hair. If I brush it, it becomes an Afro. If I do decide to brush it, it will take a good, solid 10 minutes. I brush it with my fingers when I'm in the shower to get the tangles out — otherwise it just becomes a frizz ball. That's why I also keep my hair washings to two or three a week.
Q: What kind of products do you use?
A: I never really use products — just shampoo and conditioner. I leave it to air dry and hope it all turns out. I don't have the greatest advice for anybody on hair products. I don't color it or use highlights — it's my natural color. All my family has pretty beautiful hair. My mom's is curly, and I got curls from her, thankfully.
Q: Do you think you'll ever cut it?
A: I definitely have gotten close to cutting it, and people say, "No, don't do it, don't do it." I'm thinking when I graduate I will probably do that — a new chapter in my life.
Reach Beth Bragg at 257-4335 or firstname.lastname@example.org