Haley Steed’s long fight for basketball

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Seven long years as a member of the BYU women’s basketball team are about come come to a close for senior Haley Hall Steed.

The 5-foot-4-inch guard from Syracuse has had a successful basketball career at BYU. Steed has been named ESPNW’s Player of the Week and has been recognized by the West Coast Conference as Player of the Week and as a member of the All-Conference Team. She is a member of the 1,000 Points Club, is in the Top 10 of 3-pointers made and is the all-time assists leader. She currently leads the nation in assists per game.

Haley Steed setting up the team in a game against San Diego earlier this season. (Photo by Elliott Miller)
Haley Steed sets up the team in a game against San Diego earlier this season. (Photo by Elliott Miller)

As amazing as Steed’s career has been, the road has not been easy. She has torn her ACL three times and has come back each time to continue playing.

“It was hard,” Steed said. “It was a long time sitting out. I think I had my moments when I was done and didn’t want to go through rehab anymore and dealing with (it) emotionally having to come back.”

Steed started her career at BYU in 2006. From 2006 to 2009, Steed played nine games. Three medical red-shirt seasons kept her eligible to play her senior season. Steed’s trials have made her last season more special to her. 

“There was a time that I never thought I would get to this day,” Steed said. “I feel so grateful and so blessed that I’ve been able to be here for seven years. When you put so much effort and heart into something, it’s kind of hard to walk away.”

BYU coach Jeff Judkins has a lot of respect for Steed. In his 12th season at BYU, Judkins has had few players as hardworking as Steed.

“I’ve been coaching for 25 years,” Judkins said. “I’ve only had three players like her, including boys. … It’s not just scoring, it’s everything. Haley is the most complete player I’ve ever coached. (She is) always good in big games. Always. She’s gone through more injuries than I’ve ever seen. People don’t realize how hard that is. Then, to be able to give up everything for basketball. I wish more players were like that.”

Steed’s efforts have been recognized nationally as well. She is a finalist for the annual Nancy Lieberman award. The award honors the nation’s top collegiate point guard in NCAA Division I basketball.

Although Steed has already graduated from BYU with a degree in health and wellness, she continues to take classes. NCAA student athletes must take at least eight credits in order to be eligible to participate.

“I’m definitely less bogged-down with school for sure,” Steed said. “My classes are not as difficult as some of the girls.'”

Out of the many memories from the past seven years playing basketball, Steed had a hard time choosing her most memorable moments. However, she settled on the great success the team had last year.

“Last year I would say the whole season was a highlight,” Steed said. “In particular, winning the (WCC) tournament in Vegas. Going to the NCAA tournament was a great moment for us.”

Haley Steed shoots over Portland defender earlier this season. (Photo by Chris Bunker)
Haley Steed shoots over  a Portland defender earlier this season. (Photo by Chris Bunker)

In the 2011–12 season, the Cougars defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the WCC championship game to win the conference tournament. Steed was named MVP of the championship game with 17 points and eight assists. That win gave BYU an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament. BYU played DePaul in the first round and lost. It was exciting for the Cougars because the women’s basketball team had not been in the NCAA tournament since 2007. Steed and her teammates are hoping for the same kind of success for the rest of this season.

“Hopefully, there will be some good memories when I look back at this year that I’ll be able to highlight and pinpoint a few moments,” Steed said. “Hopefully, some of those are still to come.”

This week, the BYU women’s basketball team is playing in the WCC tournament in Las Vegas for a chance to make it to the NCAA tournament. The chance to make memories is still available for both the Cougars and Steed.

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