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Star Still Rising for W. Cagers' Captain Maura Healey

By Justin R.p.ingersoll, Contributing Reporter

Senior Maura Healey doesn't like to talk about herself. In fact, articles like this embarrass her.

The Harvard women's basketball team co-captain would rather be remembered for her actions, not for her words.

And Healey has left behind a legacy of action.

If her fans and friends close their eyes, they can still see Healey drive the lane and deftly dish to Deb Flandermeyer for an easy layup.

They'll see the 5'6" point guard storm by Brown's 6'5" Martina Jerant for a pretty hoop off a finger roll.

They will watch in amazement as Healey calmly dribbles away from pressure and nails a jumper.

And if they can't use their imagination, they might be able to use television.

Come June, Healey will fly out to Colorado Springs and try out for the U.S. Olympic team.

Bigger and Better Things

After compiling an impressive career with the Crimson, Healey is moving on to greater challenges.

Harvard's second all-time career assists leader (310) will be the Ivy League's sole representative at the trials.

"It's very exciting," Healey says. "This kind of thing keeps me going."

If Healey makes the squad, she will go through a month of intensive training with the team and then fly to Barcelona.

For most, trying out for the national team is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For Healey, it's becoming a routine.

Healey was invited to try out for the team in 1987, back when she was just a 16 year-old high school junior.

She was the youngest player there, and one of only seven high school students at the camp. Playing with the legendary Cheryl Miller and Anne Donovan was incredible, according to Healey.

"That was a tremendous thrill." Healey says. "I thrived on it. I came back the next year to high school and my level of play had just risen as a result of being out there."

By the time she finished her career at Winnacunnet High in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, Healey had broken all her school's records.

'Beyond Other Athletes'

"Occasionally in the course of a school's history, you'll get two or three athletes that just seem to be at an upper class beyond other athletes," Winnacunnet's coach Ed Beatty says.

"That's what Maura was. I think she's probably the most respected athlete ever to go through Winnacunnet High School because she accomplished so much and was very modest about everything she did."

Healey passed up scholarship offers from basketball powerhouses such as Penn State and the University of Virginia (currently ranked number one in the country), choosing Harvard instead.

Healey continued her impressive accomplishments with the Crimson. This year, she led the Ivy League in assists per game with 6.5.

In second place behind Healey was All-Big Five Pennsylvania superman Paul Chambers, with a 6.1 apg average.

'Led By Example'

"She got as much out of and gave as much to the program as any player in the history of Harvard basketball," junior Erin Maher says. "She led by example."

When Co-Captain Heather Harris went down with a knee injury this year, Healey was forced to shoulder more responsibility for the team.

She successfully brought together a team that potentially could have had a disastrous season. After going 3-10 in the first half, the Crimson turned around and won 11 of its next 13 games.

"Maura's one of the greatest team leaders I've ever played with," freshman guard Nikole Cronk says.

Now in the twilight of her Harvard years, Healey is making plans to stay with the game of basketball, even after the Olympic tryouts. Currently, Healey is in touch with several professional European basketball teams.

The pull of the ball and the hoop is just too strong to resist.

Love of the Game

"For me, the most fun are the games, when the ball is in my hand," Healey says. "I'm trying to break presses, I'm out there, leading the team, creating plays."

"Her love for the game is obvious," sophomore forward Kimberly Seidel says. "You could see it when she's out on the floor. She's giving her all every night."

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