Searching far and wide: Zeh finds talent from unlikely source

By Adam Duke

Sports Reporter

The Canisius women’s basketball team is currently on a five-game winning streak. Part of the reason for their success is that the team recruits players from all around the world. In addition to Tamara Miskovic, a junior from Serbia, the Griffs have sophomore Margret Halfdanardottir and freshman Sara Hinriksdottir from Iceland on the roster.

Halfdanardottir leads the team in both two and three point field goals, going 26/53 and 16/28 in the respective categories. She also leads in free throws, sinking 13 of 17 attempts. Hinriksdottir leads freshmen in rebounds with 18 and in assists with five.

Regarding her opportunity to play for the Griffs, Hinriksdottir said, “I love everything. I love the team because we have a lot of characters. It’s like our family. We’re given so much and we’re taken care of and we want to show appreciation by working hard.”

Coming from Iceland, the girls noted a transition in the style of play here in America. “The discipline here is present a lot more. There’s a lot more at stake here too. Most people want to be good to get free college education, where back home it’s not like that, it’s basically just a hobby,” stated Halfdanardottir. She described how basketball is Iceland’s third most popular sport, right behind handball and soccer, to which Hinriksdottir added, “It’s getting a lot more popular because our national team is doing very well.” Halfdanardottir mentioned a transition in competitiveness, as both speed and intensity are also much more present in America than Iceland. She alluded to the fact that since the US is a bigger country, there are far more great players, where back home, teams are lucky to have two or three good players. In Iceland, the game is played in a more relaxed environment than in America.

In terms of where they got their starts, Halfdanardottir comes from a basketball family and Hinriksdottir switched to basketball after she decided gymnastics wasn’t for her.  

Halfdanardottir began her basketball career nearly 15 years ago. Her parents had both played, as was the case for her older siblings. She began playing for fun at the age of six and became serious about the sport several years later. Hinriksdottir, on the other hand, started in gymnastics in first grade, but with guidance from her mom, decided to stop doing gymnastics and start playing basketball. She said that ever since her basketball career had commenced at the age of seven, it was serious for her.

Regarding recruitment, Halfdanardottir found the Griffs, as she wanted to find a college with a degree program she liked, and discovered that Canisius had had what she wanted. “I emailed the coaches and sent them all of my info and my games. They watched them, and apparently liked what they saw, and they called me back, so that was very nice,” said Halfdanardottir. While watching Halfdanardottir’s highlight tape, however, the team’s coaches came across a player from the team she was competing against that they had interest in bringing to their squad as well.

That player was Sara Hinriksdottir.

“I always wanted to play college basketball and Coach Zeh saw me playing in Margret’s video. She sent him the game where we were playing against each other. Coach also went to Romania when I was playing for the national team and spotted me there,” mentioned Hinriksdottir.

Both agreed that they really enjoy playing for the Golden Griffins. “I didn’t know what to expect, I was kind of nervous coming in, with it being so different. Back home, we don’t have school teams. Here, everything around the school is more about sports- everybody loves sports and everyone’s cheering on,” stated Halfdanardottir, “I was nervous coming in because I didn’t know how I’d fit in with the girls, but they’re such fun girls and they’re very nice.”

The Griffs, with a record of 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, are currently sitting atop the conference. The team looks to ensure that stays true, as they travel to Texas to take on the Lamar University Cardinals and the University of Texas Longhorns next week. Halfdanardottir and Hinriksdottir continue to make an impact and will look to contribute to the team’s efforts throughout the season.

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