A couple of years ago and just 24 hours after she had been on a basketball court; wondering if she had bronchitis or the flu, Hannah Linz started chemotherapy. Former Eagles basketball star Hannah Linz was originally diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on April 8, 2010, following her freshman year at North Dakota State University, and she will soon begin treatment for the recurrence of the malady.
Published on Sunday, 27 January 2013 14:37
As cancer goes, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the kind you want if you’re going to get the disease. According to the Mayo
Clinic’s website, the survival rate is frequently cited at close to 90 percent, and
it is described as “highly treatable.” However, none of that changes the reality that anything that involves the term “survival rate” is far from an everyday human experience, especially for someone like Linz, still seven months shy of her 20th birthday at the time she was diagnosed. Six months of chemotherapy can test a person in ways beyond just losing hair. Hannah had the fortunate combination of a form of cancer that could be beat, and an attitude that she would do just that. “Reflecting back to the days of recruiting Hannah, I always knew there was something special about her. Sure her 3,000 career points and her incredible ability to see the floor grabbed my attention, but it was her demeanor that set Hannah apart from everyone,” said North Dakota State University women’s basketball coach Carolyn DeHoff. Hannah’s strong will to compete will not let her lose hope. In her first battle with cancer she never let her guard down. She knew she was going to beat it and she did. Hannah is laid back and leaves drama at the door. In fact, Hannah is the team jokester – always quick with a sarcastic comment and keeping all on their toes – especially when it comes to using correct English and grammar. “She likes to harass me a bit about my use of the words; fill, steal and nail. She says I say, ‘feel, still and neal’ (must be my background oozing out)”, said coach DeHoff. Another of her ‘devil made me do it’ deeds was locking teammate Dani DeGange in the charter bus bathroom. Even while losing her hair, Hannah remained optimistic, ‘rocking’ every growing phase: The Buzz; The Hair Clips; The Headbands; The Wavy Look; and The Long Flowing Locks. Hannah has also earned the “Team Baker” moniker, for her famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. She is affectionately known as, “No-look Hannah” because of her ability to see the floor and throw no-look passes. “Over the last few seasons Hannah has been a key component to our team on the court. And what she offers to this program off the court is even more valuable,” said coach DeHoff. Hannah learned the game in large part from her brother, Luke Linz, who finished his Concordia College career as one of the all-time leading scorers and rebounders for the school. It was her older brother whom she followed to Minnesota Timberwolves basketball camps as a kid, learning the game – no matter that she was sometimes the only girl playing amongst the boys. By the time Hannah reached high school, her skills surfaced. She started for five seasons at Eden Valley-Watkins High School, including her eighth-grade year, and finished her prep career third all-time in scoring in Minnesota girls high school basketball. But instead of immediate, continued success at NDSU, Linz found only frustration as a freshman. Without trying, she had started to lose weight the summer before college began, gradually but steadily enough that by the end of the first season, she had shed 25 pounds from a frame that hadn’t topped 160 pounds to begin with (Hays). She is No. 2 all-time at NDSU, with 156 three-pointers made. Linz is a 3-time selection to the Summit League All-Academic Team, and plans to complete her education at NDSU and graduate with a degree in nursing (NDSU). Perhaps the only thing physically separating Linz from the best of the big conferences might be half a step of foot speed. But competitiveness and determination can take a player like Hannah Linz, a long way … all the way from the shadows of an older brother’s long arms to the top of the Division I shooting charts … and all the way back from cancer. Donations can be made directly to the Hannah Linz Fund, c/o Gate City Bank, 500 2nd Ave. N., Fargo, N.D. 58102, or in person at any Gate City Bank location. For more information contact Lynn Dorn, NDSU director of women’s athletics, at (701) 231-7807, or e-mail
. Sources: (Hays/http://sports.espn.go.com); (NDSU Media, http://www.gobison.com).