Luckily for UCLA women's basketball Coach Billie Moore, it was one of those postcard-perfect Southern California days when Anne Dean, then a senior at Foothill High School, made a recruiting trip to campus during the spring of 1982.
Dean had never been to UCLA, but she had this preconceived notion that, because the school was in Los Angeles, the smog there had to be worse than it was in Orange County.
"I thought, 'Oh, I didn't want to go there,' " Dean said. "But the day I came for my visit was a beautiful day with no smog. I didn't realize how close it was to the beach. It's never that smoggy here."
Dean, a four-year varsity starter at Foothill, chose UCLA over Arizona State, Cal State Long Beach and Notre Dame, and has never regretted her decision, even if it does get a touch smoggy on some days.
She has certainly made the most of her basketball scholarship, both on the court and off.
Dean has been a Bruin starter since the eighth game of her freshman season and, in four years, has scored 1,288 points, which ranks fifth on the all-time UCLA women's scoring list behind Denise Curry, Anita Ortega, Ann Meyers and Necie Thompson.
Dean, a 5-foot 10-inch senior guard, led the Bruins in scoring last season with an average of 14.3 points per game and is again leading the team this season with a 14.5 average. Moore considers Dean and Curry (who scored 3,198 career points from 1977-81) the best pure shooters she has had at the school.
Dean is the only senior on this season's team, which has struggled with a 9-12 record. Although it's considered a rebuilding year at UCLA, Moore still doesn't like the prospect of entering next season without her best shooter.
"I don't know if her teammates will understand her full impact until she's not in the program," Moore said. "Our whole offense is geared around her, so that makes us redo everything next year. She can score from a variety of spots on the floor, but we may have to throw two or three more passes before we take a shot next year."
Dean, a communications major with an emphasis in business administration, has maintained a 3.5 grade-point average and will graduate next December. An honorable-mention Academic All-American last year, she is currently deciding whether to pursue a master's degree in business administration.
During her sophomore and junior years, she chaired the UCLA Athletes Advisory Council, which acts as a liaison between the athletic department and the school administration, and she plans to get involved with tutorial services this year.
"Her total environment here is not basketball," Moore said.
Dean's overall achievements at UCLA has made this year's frustrating basketball season a little easier.
The Bruins were 20-10 last season, finished second in the Western Collegiate Athletic Assn. and advanced to the NCAA West Regional before losing to eventual national runner-up Georgia. Dean's 21-point performance against USC helped UCLA become the only team to have defeated a Cheryl Miller-led Trojan team twice in the same season.
Starters Jackie Joyner and Angel Hardy graduated from that team, but the Bruins appeared to have plenty of talent returning with Dean and 6-4 center Annette Keur, who had improved steadily throughout last season and finished with a 13.5-points-per-game average.
But Keur, who is from Holland, returned home last summer, took a job as an assistant accountant in the Hilton Hotel chain, and passed up her junior year. The Bruins lost their main inside threat and had to look to the outside--Dean--for offense.
In addition to being the team's only senior and taking on the leadership role, Dean also had to carry the bulk of the offense. At times, it has been a burden.
Moore has asked her to be more aggressive and to look for more shots, and Dean has placed more pressure on herself to provide offense and leadership. Moore thinks Dean has responded well and has called this her "most consistent" year, but the Bruins, on the whole, have been sporadic.
"We have times of showing brilliance, when we can play with anyone," Dean said. "Other times, we just have lapses and look poor. I don't have any definite explanations, but it has a lot to do with our youth."
The Bruins start Dean, two juniors and two sophomores, and most of the UCLA reserves are freshmen. UCLA defeated nationally ranked North Carolina in December and played well in losses to Tennessee and Louisiana Tech.
The Bruins entered Pac West play with a two-game win streak but then lost consecutive home games to Arizona State and Arizona, teams they are capable of beating.
"We can play well against good teams and bad teams and play bad against good teams and bad teams," Dean said. "Maybe it's a rebuilding year, but I still feel optimistic. Last year, we started 0-3 in conference but finished in a tie for second place and made the tournament."
Even Dean has had a few bad games. She has scored in double figures in 11 of her last 12 games, but then there was the Long Beach game on Jan. 21, in which she scored six points in a 79-56 loss.
"Sometimes I get pretty upset with my play and I wonder to myself, 'Geez, this is my senior year, how can I play like that?' " Dean said. "The Long Beach game was one of those in particular. You browbeat yourself for a while but then you have to pick yourself up. Those are the times I say, OK, that's bad, but I have some other things to fall back on."
It's doubtful Dean will win a national championship but she doesn't think she has been deprived. She doesn't dwell on it. There's too much to look forward to after school, and after basketball.
"I'll be fired up when I'm done with school," she said. "I'd like to go out and work. I don't know exactly what I want to do, but I want to go out and find my niche."