With Kaely Maltman, loyalties run deep.
The 5-foot-11 sophomore from Sandy, Ore., has been playing sports, especially basketball, for as long as she can remember.
“It’s always been my main thing,” she says. “It takes a lot, but it’s really rewarding, and really fun.”
Maltman recounts playing many years of soccer and track, with one season of volleyball thrown in the mix, but says basketball has always been her favorite, partly because of her father’s influence.
“My dad coached my team from first grade on,” she remembers. He also served as an assistant coach during Kaely’s freshman and sophomore years of high school at Portland Christian. “He’s part of the reason I love basketball so much.”
Maltman says both of her parents have been very supportive of her and her athletic career. They have had a big impact on Kaely, including playing a part in her college decision.
“Both of my parents went here, they both graduated from Linfield,” she says with a smile. Scott and Kimberli completed their degrees in 1979 and 1978, respectively. “They wanted me to look into it, too, since they had liked it.”
A two-year starter for the Linfield basketball team, Maltman has grown to love her teammates and head coach Robin Potera-Haskins.
“She’s worked so hard,” Maltman says of her coach. “She’s really turned the program around, and I know she loves us all to death.”
Maltman spends a lot of time with her teammates, on and off the court.
“I love, love, love the girls. We all get along really well, and do a lot of things together.”
One of many new freshmen on the team, Carrie Skuzeski, knows Maltman from when they played on the same travel team in high school.
“I already knew how good she was,” Skuzeski says of Maltman. “She’s so sweet off the court, and so aggressive and tough when she’s out on the floor.”
“I’ll do anything you need me to on the court,” Maltman says. Her effort is evident in her statistics. Her scoring average of 13.5 points per game ranks second on the team and she also works hard in the paint to rebound and make defensive stops.
Skuzeski says Maltman’s dedication is outstanding. “She’s always willing to give everything. She works so hard and spends a lot of time on the ground, but she never complains or whines.”
In fact, Maltman wears distinctive gray kneepads when she plays, for just that reason.
“They were my dad’s idea, and after last year, Coach said that I should probably start wearing them again, just as a safety precaution,” Maltman says with a laugh.
Both players are looking forward to the upcoming string of home games, and are very excited about the rest of the season.
“I have high hopes,” Maltman says. “We’re a pretty young team, but everyone works really hard, and the upperclassmen are great leaders.”
Skuzeski is quick to say that Maltman “leads by example, 100 percent. Kaely is exactly what a college basketball player should be.”
Maltman says that she always wanted to play in college, but admits the higher pace took some getting used to. “It’s different from high school. Everybody’s quicker, everybody’s stronger.”
She relishes the challenge, however, and is ready to face the remaining competitors. Together with her Wildcat supporters, Maltman is looking forward to a strong finish to her second season at Linfield.
-- Lexy Chapman '15