Before and after every game, the Dickinson State women’s basketball team said, “Family” on three.
On Wednesday morning, the Blue Hawks lost a member of their family when starter Janae Moore was killed in a one-vehicle accident near her hometown of Sidney, Mont.
“Janae was that girl who could always make you smile no matter what,” DSU sophomore point guard Jordyn Bender said. “She was always smiling, always laughing. She was not only a great teammate, but a great leader and great friend to all of us.
“It was pretty hard for all of us that we lost a piece of our family today.”
When Moore stepped on the basketball court for DSU, she had the complete trust of her teammates and coaches.
Not only was Moore a standout on the court, but also in the classroom — being named to the Frontier Conference academic all-conference team and earning an all-conference honorable mention nod for her efforts on the floor.
“She was probably one of the most caring people I’ve ever known,” said Staci Moore, an assistant coach for the DSU women’s basketball team. “She was a great leader and everyone learned from her. Her personality brought the best out of anybody. She was always happy and a great presence around anybody that she ever met. She changed so many different lives. She is going to be missed so much.”
The Montana Highway Patrol said the accident involved one vehicle — the vehicle Moore was driving. Moore was wearing a seatbelt. Speeding and alcohol were not factors in the crash, the patrol said.
The accident occurred at 10:55 a.m. as Moore was driving an F-250 pickup west on Montana Highway 200.
Moore, 20, was a standout during her sophomore season with the Blue Hawks. She led DSU with 13.9 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game.
“She played the game the same way she lived her life: with total commitment and dedication not only to her personal goals, but to everyone she was around,” DSU head women’s basketball coach Caleb Harrison said.
Harrison said the phone call is one a coach never wants to receive.
“It’s very tough,” said Harrison, who is entering his second season at DSU. “I enjoy every second I got to be around Janae. The way she was able to touch everybody around her is something that we are going to miss. She was always very selfless, helping other people with their goals and making other people better. Everybody that knows Janae will always remember that about her. She lived a very meaningful life.”
DSU athletic director Tim Daniel said everyone in the DSU athletic community is saddened by Moore’s death.
Page 2 of 2 - “Janae was an exemplary student athlete,” Daniel said. “She was liked by everyone she came into contact with, whether it was her classmates or teammates. It’s just a huge loss for everybody. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.”
Daniel said the loss of Moore will affect not only the basketball community in Dickinson, but in Sidney as well.
“She was very involved,” Daniel said. “She was a TR (Theodore Roosevelt honors) student and one of our campus leaders. She was one of the most well-liked people on campus. It’s always hard when you lose somebody who is such a positive role model.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.