Kate Moran on overcoming injury and being named rookie of the year

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Female Rookie of the Year Kate Moran has had an incredible first season with the Laurier Golden Hawks women’s basketball team. After two injuries and now a pandemic, Moran has stayed positive and grown her love for basketball.  

Moran, a Waterloo native, is an accomplished basketball player who has overcome multiple injuries and continues to impress those watching her play. She is a former national player for the Canadian under-16 team and now just after one season, a star player on the Golden Hawks women’s basketball team. 

Although her time playing for the Canadian under 16 team was a while ago, the experience prepared her for playing university-level basketball. 

“Playing at those higher levels [has] really prepared me for arguably the highest level of playing in university, and playing with girls who are older than me… learning a lot about basketball and then bringing that to the Golden Hawks and being able to help out my team here,” Moran said.

In high school, Moran suffered a serious knee injury that resulted in four surgeries and her retirement from the game of basketball. In her time off, she focused on her health and had the opportunity to reflect on how much she really appreciates basketball. 

She continued her love of basketball from the sidelines as a coach for young girls during her retirement. This experience helped shape Moran into the star player she has become for Laurier, and helped her secure the title of Rookie of the Year for this past season.  

“I was fortunate that I was a rookie this year but I had the opportunity to be around the team for a whole year before and kind of feel that support and then have the opportunity to play in my second year,” Moran said. 

“Definitely that perseverance piece was huge, I learned a lot from coaching and I learned how much I really love basketball.”  

Moran’s rookie season with the Golden Hawks was impressive, averaging 22 minutes per game, 7.3 points per game, six rebounds per game and a staggering 2.4 blocks per game. With her tenacious effort on defense Moran led the country (USPORTS) in individual blocks with 53 and with that mark broke the Laurier single season record. 

In her 22 games played, Moran shot 42 per cent from the field, 28.6 per cent on three-point shots and made 64.7 per cent of her free throws. She is quickly becoming an essential player and team leader that will continue to make great strides for the basketball program at Laurier. 

This was Moran’s rookie year even though it was not her first year at Laurier. She first came to Wilfrid Laurier University with no intentions of playing for the team, as she was still recovering from the knee injury that resulted in her retirement. 

She was given approval to return to play in her first year at Laurier after being told she would never play again. Unfortunately, she suffered another injury shortly after, this time an ankle injury that also needed surgery, leaving her unable to play in her first year of university. 

During her time healing her ankle she was surrounded by a strong support team that kept her motivated and made her feel a part of the Golden Hawk family. Head Coach Paul Falco has been a strong supporter as well, as she focused on her health to return to play. 

I’m super grateful that Falco gave me the opportunity to play at Laurier … I had a pre-existing relationship with him, and I am just so grateful he has given me the opportunity to play and help support me through all my injuries and ups and downs of the last couple of years, and surrounded me with great teammates, assistant coaches and support staff as well” Moran said.

Moran was finally able to be back on the basketball court to play her second full-season with Laurier, stronger than ever, when her and her fellow athletes received upsetting news from Ontario University Athletics (OUA). The announcement was made over the summer that all fall sports would be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Taking time off from the sport you love is difficult for athletes in every sport, and now more than ever they are looking to keep a positive mindset. Laurier athletes are learning how to take time off from the sports they love.

Moran has had experience with time off from her sport and stressed the importance of staying both mentally and physically strong.

“This is an extra special situation but everyone is going through it, and we’re all trying to support each other through it and do what we can to be as strong as possible when we come back, mentally and physically […] this is a challenge for a lot of athletes who now, I think, really understand how much they love their sport,” she said. 

Moran is looking forward to returning to the court as she navigates this unique situation and fans are also eagerly awaiting to see her flourish in the Laurier basketball program.

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