2021 FBA Season/21.02.11/ALB@AZW/Capsule

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It is rather rare for a FBA player to have a strong fanbase located in an area the player never played for professionally. For Albany Alphas' Narkissa Kassius (Ring-tail Lemur, G), playing road games inside Ascendant Arena in Arizona is almost like playing home games, literally. She was born and raised within the Phoenix metro valley area, and stayed living there all the way through college at Furizona State University (located in Tempe, close to Phoenix). Her love for the Grand Canyon State led her to purchase a mansion in Fountain Hills, AZ and she still enjoyed visiting hospitals within Phoenix to meet with children patients. So when the Santa Fe Whips moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, giving the state a FBA local presence for the first time since the Tucson Demons left in 2009, Narkissa made it a point to always play extra hard there in front of her family, childhood and college friends. Over the years, she developed a strong base of fans there to the point where Section 209 of the stadium became known as 'The Conspiracy', where her most ardent fans gather together to raise a ruckus even at the cost of going against their own home team.

Today it was no different. Because of Narkissa playing for eastern teams from Tallahassee to Albany, she could only visit to play in Arizona once a season, but she made it count today. She was all over the court, making 13 of 22 shots for 31 points, passed for 8 assists and made 2 steals. Arizona's Tino Hazari (Dhole, G) struggled heavily against her, and Narkissa shot him down as Hazari ended up shooting 2 for 13. Everytime she grabbed the ball, The Conspiracy section grew in volume, refusing to quiet down even as their fellow Whips fan neighbors give them annoyed looks. Despite the Whips' rookie Kyler Inari (Arctic Fox, G/F) leading his team's offense with 22 points, the Whips struggled to overcome a third-quarter blowout by the Alphas, and the Alphas take the road victory over the Whips, 107-99.

Soon after the game, the Conspiracy fans stayed in their section while most of the remaining fans walked out to head home. As the players filed out of the court, Narkissa openly acknowledged those fans of Section 209 with smiles and waves, and then grabbed a microphone. "Every single time I come here, I receive this awesome welcome by people that supported me through thick and thin, despite the fact that I play for teams far away from here. I want to thank you all for having my back... some of you have known me since I was little lemur kid, some of you learned in college classrooms with me and shared our notes together. Some of you even caused trouble with me... heh heh. I have a special announcement... one I had been waiting for this moment to arrive to say this. No one in my family... no one in the Alphas organization... not even my love Yves... no one but me have known about this." She then paused and took a deep breath. "Next season will be my last season playing in the FBA."

The crowd gasped in surprise, but Narkissa anticipated it. So she smiled and gave the crowd a wink. "So the next time I show up here... lets really make it special, shall we?" The crowd then cheered loudly and Narkissa waved once more before disappearing into the hallways.

-- Greg Menat, Arizona Tribune (Sports Dept)

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