The irony of all this was not lost on her. Here she was a 28-year-old woman who had stumbled into officiating as a side gig to make a little extra coin on the way to being a coach. She'd only been reffing in any capacity for 4 years and had barely worked with males at all. Meanwhile, some men alongside her had been officiating almost as long as she'd been alive, their sole objective to someday work in the NBA:
"I didn't even watch the NBA. I was just a fan of basketball. So, learning the nuances, the rules, of a grown-man's game… I had no clue."
But Battista and Caldwell weren't the only NBA administrators who believed in her. She had a powerful person in her corner.
As had Battista, the NBA's director of referee performance, and perhaps the most well-known basketball official in the world, had noticed her amid the mad scramble and relative chaos of AAU summer camps. And Joe Crawford liked what he saw:
"You could see she just had it. She had strength. She could run. Nothing bothered her. Nothing fazed her. You could see it, in like, 10 minutes."
Why is that important?
"Because if I can see it, the players and coaches can see it. It's an acceptance thing. A believability thing. And she just had it.
"I've seen her in a lot of different venues now – G-League, WNBA, NBA. And she carries herself as a pro. She is a pro."