Habekost willing to do whatever she can to help Mavericks
If it weren’t for her club feet, Heather Habekost probably wouldn’t be playing basketball.
The Mesa State College junior grew up playing soccer in a basketball family and she took some heat for it.
“Oh, I got a hard time about it,” Habekost said. “I have a cousin that played (basketball) at UNC-Greensboro.”
Habekost, who was born with club feet, came back to basketball after a second reconstructive surgery on her feet when she was 12 years old.
“The WNBA started about then and I watched it all the time,” Habekost said. “After surgery, my scars were tender. It was not ideal for soccer, but I worked on my (basketball) ball-handling.”
By the time her feet were completely healed, basketball had become her passion and she had the ball-handling skills to match.
The San Juan Capistrano, Calif., native led her high school to the California Interscholastic Federation state tournament. She made second team All-CIF and first team all-league.
Habekost played the past two years at Golden West (Calif.) College, where she led the team in points, assists and steals. She was selected a first-team all-conference player.
Instead of staying in California, she decided to be adventurous.
She could have played for Cal State-San Bernardino, but decided to venture to Colorado.
“I think a big thing that was lacking in San Francisco was the community being involved, having a large fan base ,” Habekost said. “Last weekend we had a youth camp and girls were asking for our autographs. My parents were here and were so shocked how nice the fans were . That’s something with all the schools in California that is hard to find.”
She liked what she saw on her campus visit. Coach Timi Brown demands a lot from the guards who run the offense, but Habekost is up for that challenge.
Brown played at the University of Arizona, where she was a two-year captain and left as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,315 points).
“When I was here on my visit, everything clicked with Coach Brown,” Habekost said. “I know she is a notoriously tough coach and I like that. She has very high expectations for me on and off the court. I like that she expects a lot.
“I want to be the best I can. Hopefully, we win as much as possible.”
Habekost isn’t concerned about individual accolades or personal goals. She simply wants to win.
“Whatever my team needs me to do,” Habekost said. “I want to be a consistent floor leader and do the intangibles. Friday was my night (23 points, 6 assists). Saturday, it was (Stephanie) Delgado’s night.
“I don’t feel like I need to score. I need to do what my coaches need me to do, whether it’s play defense or knock down shots.”
Habekost is one of three Mavs to start all four games. She is averaging 9.5 points a game and leads the team with 15 assists (3.75 per game). She is shooting 50 percent from the floor
and 91.7 percent from the free-throw line.
“Heather’s whole key is to play aggressive,” Brown said. “I want her to push the tempo. This past weekend, she did a great job of that. She got us into our offense, shot the ball well and defended hard.”
Habekost will need to continue to play well this weekend when the Mavericks (2-2) play Pacific West Conference teams Notre Dame de Namur (1-4) and Dixie State (1-4) in the Dixie State Tournament.
“We want to get a win on the road and get some more confidence,” Brown said. “We want to be tough on the road.
“We need to execute better on offense. We’ve done various aspects well, but now we need to put the package together. Our transition defense needs to get better and we definitely need to box out. It’s one of the most fundamental things you can do.”