Women's basketball loses three to graduation

For UCSD women’s basketball, the move to Division II two years ago might have been a difficult one. But the Tritons have gone 28-26 in Division II, and much of the credit can be given to three seniors who have played their last games for UCSD.

Courtesy of UCSD Athletics

Danyiel Wortham, Renee Hudec and Maya Fok have all contributed to the Triton attack and will be missed, according to coach Judy Malone.

Wortham, a 6-foot center from Ceres, Calif., became a part-time starter as a junior before working her way into the full-time job this past season.

“”Danyiel worked very hard to improve her game,”” Malone said. “”[In the post] she had to battle against taller, bigger people every night.””

Courtesy of UCSD Athletics

As a senior, Wortham finished second on the team in rebounding with 6.5 per game and added seven points per game. Wortham’s hard work was rewarded when she was named the Tritons’ best defensive player at the end of the 2002 season.

“”She was a great position and help defender,”” Malone said. “”She wasn’t the biggest star but she was one of those players that is the glue that holds the team together.””

While Wortham worked hard and improved on the court, teammate and fellow 6-foot center Renee Hudec was working to get there.

As a sophomore, Hudec was often the first Triton off the bench, but her junior year was marred with injuries. After tearing her ACL, Hudec made a trip to Europe and suffered another setback.

“”In Europe, she ruptured her patellar tendon,”” Malone said.

But that didn’t stop her from climbing the Eiffel Tower and finishing her trip before returning to the United States to be examined by doctors.

After more surgeries — four, in all — Hudec rehabilitated and joined her teammates in the final game of her senior year in which she contributed with five rebounds in eight minutes.

“”Renee is the definition of courage,”” Malone said. “”Most people would have given up in her situation. She’s shown what it means to be on a team.””

Playing in only one game during her final two years, the center from Yucaipa, Calif., still contributed to the team and earned the Most Inspirational Player award for both her junior and senior years.

“”She was a good leader and an important part of our program,”” Malone said.

After her sophomore year at UC Davis, point guard Fok learned that the Aggie basketball team didn’t have a position for her for the following year. Fok called Malone and transferred to UCSD for her junior year to help lead the Tritons to Division II success.

“”Maya has a natural exuberance,”” Malone said. “”She’s been a huge help in our program transitioning to Division II. After having her here for two years, we went into recruiting this year knowing what kind of a point guard we want.””

Fok’s energy and leadership earned her the heart and hustle award this past season, during which she led the Tritons with 3.2 assists per game, 2.1 steals per game and was second on the team with nine points per game.

“”She was a great addition to our team,”” Malone said. “”We are a very young team. The seniors this season did a great job.””

They will definitely be missed on the court, but Malone added, “”We have promise for the future.””