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Marcia Bruggeman has been on many a basketball court in her time, but none of those outings could quite compare with her recent 30 seconds of fame on the hardwood at Stanford University’s Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif. It was during the second half of the Stanford men’s 84-58 rout of the University of California, Berkeley’s Cal Bears on Jan. 17, when Bruggeman, an associate at Venture Law Group in Menlo Park, Calif., strode on court to take part in a three-point shooting contest. Calmly, and to the incredulous cheers of the sellout crowd, Bruggeman punched in three shots in 30 seconds to win $1,000. But the best was yet to come. When the game resumed and with Stanford, the No. 1 team in the nation, leading by 20 points, the Cardinal’s student section began taunting the Golden Bears by chanting, “Cal needs Marcia, Cal needs Marcia.” Bruggeman, 29, was floored. “I laughed,” she says, “but I was not going to chant my own name.” What Stanford fans didn’t realize, though, was that Bruggeman was a bit of a ringer, and an old foe. She was a shooting guard on Cal’s varsity women’s team while at U.C. Berkeley in the early ’90s, and was at the Stanford game pulling for the Bears. “It was a little sad that the Bears lost,” she says, “and it’s particularly ironic that the fans were yelling, ‘Cal needs Marcia.’ “ Bruggeman also kept quiet about her profession, a wise move that likely kept her from suffering the kind of boos that rained down on a male East Bay lawyer who took part last fall in a kicking contest during a 49ers game. “I did not announce that I was a lawyer, nor did I announce that I had previously played basketball,” Bruggeman says. “But I did walk out there in my business attire and in two-inch heels.” Bruggeman’s feat wowed her co-workers at Venture Law Group. Partner Joshua Green, who was at the game, was so ecstatic that he sent out a firmwide e-mail calling Bruggeman “a VLG hero.” “Picture this,” he wrote, “the sellout crowd of almost 8,000 goes nuts, Casey Jacobsen, Stanford’s star player, hugs Marcia and high fives were being dished out all around.” He also pointed out that during a post-game radio show, Jarron Collins, another star Cardinal player, had kind words for Bruggeman, noting that “she can definitely hit the three.” Bruggeman, a corporate lawyer who works with startups in Silicon Valley, keeps her hoops skills intact by regularly hitting the courts and coaching a fifth-grade girls’ basketball team. She was part of New York’s lawyer league while working for Sullivan & Cromwell, and has taken on the guys at Venture Law Group during weekly games since moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in May. The firm’s biography about Bruggeman even notes that she “claims to have a better outside shot than any of the VLG directors.” After her night of sinking threes, who would dare disagree?

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