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A Part of the Family

In 14 years, Stephanie Russell hasn't missed a women's home basketball game


Grand Ledge, Mich., resident Stephanie Russell cheers on the Spartans as the starting lineup is introduced on the court Feb. 24, 2014, before the game against Minnesota at Breslin Center. Russell has attended every women's home basketball game for the past 14 years. Julia Nagy/The State News

Rain or shine. She’s there.

Sleet or snow. She’s there.

Stephanie Russell is there because her team needs her. She’s there because it’s not just the Michigan State women’s basketball team - it’s her team. And she’s been there for them, shouting “I love you” behind the bench and waiting by the tunnel to high-five her Spartans as they take the court. She’s been there for them for 14 years, never missing a single home game.

The 25-year-old Grand Ledge, Mich., resident, who has Down syndrome, is the loudest girl in Breslin Center, screaming “I like you” and “I love you” to not just her team, but to the women who have become her family.

There are two seasons in Russell’s world: basketball season, and waiting for basketball season.

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