Osborne and Long team up on the hardwood

Osborne '10 and Long '10 are teammates with the same attitude.

Two-sport athletes Caitlyn Long '10 and Jaleesa Osborne '10 grew up on opposite sides of Virginia. Long is a health and human performance major; Osborne majors in criminal justice. Long plays volleyball; Osborne runs track. Both, however, also play basketball, and when they hit the hardwood, their differences melt away.

Long, from Cave Spring High School, Roanoke, is a two-time All-ODAC selection in volleyball and captained her team to the ODAC Championship game.

Osborne, from Gloucester High School, Ordinary, is a five-time All-American in women's track and field and holds five ODAC track and field championship titles. Last year, she took home two top-eight honors at the NCAA Division III Championships and also was an All-ODAC selection.

Osborne describes her hometown as one where "every single shop is on...one street" and where the similarities to the Roanoke Valley are few. Nevertheless, when she and Long met on the basketball court, they found common ground.

"Jaleesa and I realized we have the same attitude," Long says. "We wanted to win. Even though we come from different places...I have learned from Jaleesa what it is to be a hard worker, a good person, a good friend, and what it takes to be a winner and a great leader. She is one of my best friends."

Osborne says, "With every sport you hope to find teammates that are as passionate and determined as you. Caitlyn has...pushed the drive in me...to excel. Caitlyn's an amazing teammate and a true friend."

Women's basketball coach Susan Dunagan says that from the beginning, Long and Osborne formed a bond. "I would walk into the gym," she says, "and they would be shooting together, doing drills together. They...always knew that the other had their back."

Clearly the two have motivated each other, and both guards were named to this season's All-ODAC First Team. Along with senior Lindsay Skaff '10, the two shared team captain duties and led the team to the NCAA tournament.

Long is a three-time All-ODAC selection and this season became the 15th player in Roanoke women's basketball history to score 1,000 career points. She currently is second all-time in career three-pointers, 10th all-time in career points and 10th all-time in career free throws made.

For her part, Osborne is a two-time All-ODAC pick and was ranked among the top 25 nationally this season in assist-to-turnover ratio. The four-year starter has scored nearly 850 career points and is second all-time in both career steals and assists.

Though they've accomplished much already, Dunagan sees bright futures ahead. "I can't wait to see how much further their journeys take them...What a great combination!"

Released: May 29, 2010