Women's basketball: For ex-Falcon Hall, giving up isn't an option

Mar 22 2011 - 10:15pm

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(ANDY CARPENEAN/The Associated Press) BYU guard Haley Hall (33) guards Wyoming’s Randi Richardson (3) earlier this month.
(ANDY CARPENEAN/The Associated Press) BYU guard Haley Hall (33) guards Wyoming’s Randi Richardson (3) earlier this month.

PROVO -- Giving up would have been the easy road.

And, honestly, no one would've blamed her.

For Haley Hall, however, quitting was never an option.

In the end, Hall, a former Clearfield High School star, is right where she always dreamed about being.

Overcoming three knee injuries in three years, the Syracuse native is the starting point guard for the Brigham Young University women's basketball team, a spot she has held down for the past two seasons.

"This year has been so much fun," Hall said. "I'm so grateful to have had two healthy years to play here. I've been with these girls for a long time now, and to share the success that we have had on the court this year has been very rewarding."

Hall committed and inked with BYU during the fall of her senior year with the Falcons, but just seven games into her freshman season, she suffered from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in her left knee. Just prior to tipoff her second year with the Cougars, she again injured the knee and was forced to miss the season.

With two surgeries behind her, the unthinkable happened in the first game of her third year, she tore the ligament in her right knee in the Cougars' season-opener against Portland State.

That's where most players might have drawn a line, but not Hall. She quickly prepared for another surgery and again traveled the long road of rehabilitation.

When the time came for the tipoff of her junior season, Hall was ready and was finally rewarded for her hard work as she started all 33 games for the Cougars, leading the team to a runner-up finish in the Mountain West Conference and a berth in the Women's National Invitational Tournament, where BYU advanced to the final four before bowing out to eventual champion California.

"It definitely took some time last year to get comfortable on the court again after three years," Hall said. "This year, after having a whole year under my belt, it was easier for me to settle in and play with confidence.

"I think my biggest role on this team has been to be a leader. I've been in this program for a long time, and through my injuries, I've been able to become a much smarter basketball player."

Hall averages 8.5 points and 5.0 assists for the Cougars in just under 33 minutes per outing. She has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.7, the fifth-best mark in the nation this season.

"Haley is like a coach because she's been here for a long time," BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. "She understands what's expected and what I'm thinking. She has a great determination and drive, especially because of the adversities she's been through."

This season, Hall has helped guide BYU to a 25-8 overall record, including a 15-1 mark in the MWC regular season. A last-second loss to rival Utah in the semifinals of the MWC tournament, however, dashed the teams' dream of playing the NCAA tournament.

"Not making it to the NCAAs was a huge disappointment for us, especially after having such successful season," Hall said. "I think after we realized that we weren't going the NCAAs, we really wanted to go into the WNIT with a chip on our shoulder and finish the season strong.

"We have a lot of seniors who want to finish the season on a high note, so hopefully we can do that."

The Cougars will host the University of Southern California tonight at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Center in the WNIT quarterfinals, after having easily knocked off Denver (75-60) and Utah State (102-63) in the first two rounds. The game will be broadcast live on BYUTV.

"We were thrilled when we found out we would play USC at home," Hall said. "We'll take as many games as we can at the Marriott Center. It's obviously a comfortable place for us to play, and for us to be able to play some of our postseason in front of family and friends has been a lot of fun."

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