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The Empty Seat

3 min read

Between December of 2023 and April of 2024 I spent 28 days filming a show mostly on the West Coast. It was a dream project for me, following the best Women’s College Basketball Players through their historic season. My job on this project was to embed myself with the UCLA women’s basketball team as they attempted to do something that had never been done before...bring a National Championship to this storied basketball school on the women’s side.

I spent a lot of time with Kiki Rice, a rising junior point guard, who you will get to know pretty well if you watched Full Court Press on ABC. Like a lot of time. It was enlightening to see the world through 20 year old eyes, a moment in life when dreams feel both closer and further away at the same time. 20 is a time when a person wakes up to the complexity of life, whether or not they play basketball or have a shoe designed for them.

When you take on a project like this, your whole family takes it on. It’s about communicating schedules and calling in babysitters at the last minute. It’s a lot of making do. Often, Kiki’s basketball games coincided with my sons’ basketball games, I was an empty space on a bleacher...and so I expected bitterness. And yet, from the very beginning my 5 and 7 year old sons were curious about this flashy and fun group of women...they started watching games with me and by the end of the season they were watching the games I was filming. They cheered for the fierce Gabriella Jacquez, expected effortless 3 pointers from 5' 4" Londynn Jones, marveled at the magnificent Lauren Betts, and of course always went for beautiful and dynamic Kiki with the curly ponytail.

When I started in this industry 20 years ago, I didn’t dream that a project like this could exist, let alone that I could be a part of it. Most people have to see things to envision them for themselves and I had no applicable reference. Which is kind of the whole point I’m trying to make here.

That all brings me to the book report my oldest, Jake, brought home a couple of weeks ago.

He did a fully illustrated report on the accomplishments of a black female athlete. 

What did that mean to me?


For the first 4 months of 2024 Adrienne Gallagher, Managing Director of Greenlight Productions, a division of GO, was following the best Women’s College Basketball Players through their historic season. Adrienne received a producer credit for her work on Full Court Press which was created by Words and Pictures in conjunction with Omaha Productions, which is an entertainment company founded by former football quarterback Peyton Manning. The 4 part docuseries aired in May and can be found on ESPN and other streaming services.

Group Photo
photo of full court press interview