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From Laker, to pro, to coach

Stec succeeds in Cazenovia, Siena, Denmark, Holland

Heather Stec sails toward the hoop while playing for the STOL-Grasshoppers in the Dutch professional womens basketball league in 2011. During her career in Holland, Stec averaged 21.4 points per game.

Heather Stec sails toward the hoop while playing for the STOL-Grasshoppers in the Dutch professional womens basketball league in 2011. During her career in Holland, Stec averaged 21.4 points per game.

— While the majority of college athletes become professionals in fields other than sports, Cazenovia High School alumna Heather Stec is one of the few exceptions.

After graduating from Siena College in 2009, Stec played professional basketball in Europe, leading the Horsholm 79ers to the 2010 Dameligaen Championship.

Last year she returned to the United States to act as assistant coach for the Cazenovia College womens basketball team.

“I worked with the post players, developing their skills down on the low block. I did some scouting, and was there for all practices and games to support the girls,” Stec said. “Playing abroad was great, but different. When you’re overseas, you learn to really appreciate everything you have in America. I remember getting off the plane and just wanting to kiss the ground … It’s nice being back in [Cazenovia].”

Before her professional career, Stec was no stranger to athletic success. In her senior year of high school, the six-foot-two-inch forward helped lead the Cazenovia Lakers to the 2004 Section III finals.

Nursing a stress-fracture in her knee, Stec red-shirted for her first year at Siena, joining the Saints starting lineup in 2006. While playing at Siena, she was named to the All-MAAC Third Team, and logged 792 points and 682 rebounds in 100 career games. Stec is currently tied for the 11th spot on the school’s all-time rebounding list. Amid her busy athletic schedule, she double majored in biology and psychology

photo

Submitted Photo

Cazenovia High School alumna Heather Stec, back right center, celebrates with her Horsholm 79er teammates and coaches after clinching Denmark’s national 2010 Dameligaen Championship.

Upon graduation in 2009, Stec was drafted to the 79ers in Denmark, where she was named the Player of the Year, Forward of the Year and Import Player of the Year. After clinching the national Dameligaen Championship, Stec was traded to the STOL-Grasshoppers in Katwijk, Holland. During the 2010-11 season she averaged 21.4 points per game and a free-throw percentage of 78.8.

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