Already standout player, Faziah Steen ‘13 emerges as leader
By Caroline Buck, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Although she is only in her second season with the team, women’s basketball player Faziah Steen ’13 has emerged as one of Dartmouth’s brightest stars. Already leading the Ivy League in multiple key statistics, Steen headed the Big Green to back-to-back wins last weekend — the team’s first weekend sweep since 2009.
“[Steen] is one of the best players in the League and it happened in a very small period of time,” head coach Chris Wielgus said.
Steen — who won an Ivy League Rookie of the Week award and was named to the Ivy League All-Rookie Team last year — was awarded with the Ivy League Player of the Week award on Monday for her efforts last weekend against Columbia University and Cornell University.
Steen leads the League in conference scoring with 17.4 points per game. Her 3.0 average for three-pointers a game also tops conference statistics.
“Her statistics don’t show you how much she has led this very young team,” Wielgus said. “And she herself is very young.”
Steen scored a career-high 28 points in back-to-back games against Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania on Jan. 29 and Feb. 4.
“While her stat line shows that she basically never misses, what it doesn’t show is how hard she works away from the ball,” captain Cassie Cooper ’11 said. “She is always assigned to guard the other team’s most powerful guard and finds a way to shut them down every night.”
Steen, who is from Kalamazoo, Mich., began playing basketball at the age of five after her father — a former collegiate basketball player at Western Michigan University — encouraged her to take up the sport.
“He always played and loved basketball and ingrained that in me,” Steen said.
Steen attended Detroit Country Day School in Franklin, Mich., a nationally known basketball powerhouse. Five teammates from her high school class now play Division I basketball, and three of those teammates play in the League.
Despite graduating from a successful high school program, Steen said she found the transition to collegiate basketball challenging.
“The game itself is much faster paced and you have to work much harder in practice and games,” Steen said. “High school was definitely easier and slower paced — it was a big jump but I ended up adjusting.”
Wielgus said Steen had acclimated to the higher level of play by the end of last season, despite needing to adjust to the greater strength and speed of collegiate opponents.
“She played quite a bit as a freshman,” Wielgus said. “We have had two consecutive years of injuries so as a youngster she had to step up.”
Steen started in 20 games during her rookie season, and ranked second on the team in scoring.
“I’m more confident now,” Steen said. “As a freshman you don’t know anything — coaches, teammates, you have to learn the new system. As a sophomore you know what you have to do and work hard. The biggest thing was knowing what to expect and having confidence.”
Cooper said Steen is the “ideal teammate,” noting that she has progressed significantly over the past year.
“Her attitude towards the game is contagious and as a captain it feels really good knowing that someone else loves the game just as much as I do,” Cooper said.
Steen said she has recognized a different team dynamic on the collegiate team level from what she experienced in high school.
“Everyone on our team gets along, which is surprising to me,” she said. “In high school people did not get along — it was a new thing to me.”
Calling her the team’s “heir apparent,” Wielgus said that Steen has emerged as an on-court leader and has the potential to guide the Big Green as an upperclassman.
“Her finest moments come when she’s leading the young team,” Wielgus said.
Steen said she hopes to lead the Big Green to a League championship in her remaining seasons.
“She will always lead the team through example, pushing everyone to perform better,” Cooper said. “It’s amazing that she is only a sophomore and is already such a force in the League.”
Wielgus said that, after the team’s success over the weekend, she is optimistic for the Big Green’s immediate future.
“They are a remarkably resilient group of athletes — we are not trying to survive but trying to get better,” Wielgus said. “We are getting better week to week, hour to hour.”
Dartmouth will next play Yale University on Friday at 7 p.m. and Brown University on Saturday at 7 p.m. at home.