Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Maseko making most of her time in the U.S.

There was just the slightest bit of astonishment from Seton Hall senior Alexandra Maseko when she was informed that her presence was requested for a post-game interview following the Pirates' 60-55 win over Cincinnati on the first day of the Big East tournament.

"Are you sure you want to talk to me," Maseko asked obviously thinking of her two points and four rebounds before fouling out in 23 minutes.

It was another statistic that resulted in me wanting to speak to Maseko, namely her 3.824 grade-point average which resulted in her being a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Applying for the Rhodes was actually not even her idea but a representative from Seton Hall's Academic Services department realizing what an outstanding student and type of well-rounded individual the Rhodes committee looks for first threw out the idea to Maseko.

"The academic advisor, I got an email saying I should meet with him and my grades were good enough," Maseko said. "It was a nice little thing and I wasn't expecting to go far at all. I applied and was really shocked that I was among the finalists of seven."

As if the arduous task of securing multiple recommendations and writing essays to describe what she would do if given the opportunity to study in Oxford wasn't enough of a challenge, Maseko needed to fly home to Zimbabwe in the middle of the season to be interviewed by the committee. The whirlwind weekend began with Maseko pulling down eight rebounds in a Dec. 8 loss at Wake Forest. The next day she was on a plane headed for Zimbabwe.

"My school helped me and I flew down there for the interview (on , it was kind of midseason," Maseko said. "Unfortunately I didn't make it, two Harvard kids got it but it was a great experience.

"Because we were in season I didn't have as much time to prepare for it as I would like to and the other kids understood, they had been through it and were a lot more experienced. It was grueling, we had seven or eight people. It was a good experience but it was scary. I don't remember being more scared than that."

Perhaps the only time she faced more anxiety might have been when she left Zimbabwe to enroll at Seton Hall. To say she experienced some culture shock when she stepped foot on the South Orange, N.J. campus would be an incredible understatement.

"At the time Pyllis Mangina was our head coach and I was playing basketball for a couple of years (including a stint on the Zimbabwe Under-20 national team), one or two girls had made it before me so I knew it was possible. I needed a way to further my education and I wanted t o play basketball on the best basketball platform in the world so I applied to whole lot of D-3, D-2 and D-1 places. Phyllis Mangina invited me down for a recruiting visit and I am here.

"The good thing is my university is so welcoming and they there was another exchange student there at the time and I felt (comfortable)"

Maseko, a political science major, is currently applying to graduate schools in the U.S.

It's been a pretty good couple of days for former state stars.

Former Wilbur Cross star Chantell Alford was named to co-Player of the Year in the America East Conference as the Boston University senior was the conference's leading scorer with an average of 16.6 points per game. She also earned first team All-America East honors for the fourth straight season. Over in the MAAC, Meriden's Damika Martinez earned Player of the Year recognition after the Iona sophomore led the conference in scoring with an average of 17.6 points per game while former Hillhouse star Bria Holmes, a guard at West Virginia, was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman team and New Britain's Symone Roberts, a senior guard at Providence, was a second-team All-Big East pick.

After a Pittsburgh team which failed to win a Big East game in the regular season jumped out to the early four-point lead there was no sense of panic among the Marquette squad.

The Golden Eagles got 11 points from Katie Young and another 10 points from Katherine Plouffe to advance to the second round of the Big East tournament with a 66-43 win.

"You always have jitters when you start a tournament," Mitchell said. "I think we started that way, starting two freshmen. We are thrilled to be able to move on, it is March and we are excited to be playing tomorrow."

Marquette faces DePaul tomorrow at 6 p.m. with the winner drawing defending champion UConn in the quarterfinals Sunday at 6 p.m.


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