Seton Hall women’s basketball graduate assistant Alexandra Maseko finished as a Top-9 Finalist for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year Award following an awards ceremony in Indianapolis Sunday night.
One player from each team in every conference of all three division levels receives a nomination. The number of candidates shrinks as the selection process goes along. Maseko was named a Top-30 Finalist in August before making the top-nine earlier last month.
“It was a tremendous honor,” Maseko said. “It was very unexpected which I think made it an honor as well. The stuff that I do in my career was never meant to be for any kind of recognition, so for them to nominate me and for me to even get that far has been a really nice recognition and great honor.”
The top nine finalists were invited to an awards dinner on Sunday night, where the eventual winner would be announced. Maseko did not end up winning; however, she said just being able to be invited to the dinner was special enough.
“It (the dinner) was great! The food was great,” Maseko joked. “We got to mingle with a lot of people, organizers of the event itself, members of the NCAA, a whole bunch of coaches and family members from the other candidates from around the country. It was a great combination with the whole weekend.”
This marks the first season as new women’s head coach Tony Bozzella’s tenure at Seton Hall. But for all four of Maseko’s seasons with the team, it was Anne Donovan who was at the helm of the Hall during Maseko’s four year career.
“Alex being one of just nine women honored as a finalist for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year Award is truly a testament to how special Alex is,” Donovan said in an email. “This honor solidifies Alex as one of the finest student athletes to ever don a SHU uniform. Alex’s leadership and legacy will leave a lasting mark on athletics at Seton Hall University.”
Donovan, who now coaches the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun surprised her former player and attended the awards dinner.
“That was a great surprise, I had no idea she was coming out,” Maseko said. “Most of the girls here had family there, but obviously my family is not here so having her there meant a lot to me.”
Maseko, who along with her family is from Zimbabwe, noted that her basketball community is like a family to her.
Maseko, who is currently pursuing her master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, has had a strong presence in community service for quite some time.
“Short term, my goal is to finish my master’s and to keep working here with the girls and watching them develop and grow and succeed and excel in this new conference,”
“I’ve also been planning to build on the projects I’m doing that’s sort of more towards the community service aspect, developing that and streamlining it.”
Maseko also added that she does not know if her playing days are over. She said there are a couple things she misses about playing at Seton Hall. “It’s hard staying on the sidelines watching the teammates you were just playing with last year, she said. I miss every bit of it, from yelling and cheering on the court to playing a cog in the wheel for Seton Hall basketball.”
David Heim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.