Sophomore Marie Benson of the UTSA women’s basketball team has been a stud on the hardwood for the ‘Runners ever since she first suited up in the blue and orange. Despite the women’s basketball team having a disappointing 2017-2018 season, Benson has been fantastic. As the season draws to an end, Benson is nearly averaging a double-double with 14 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game. Although she still made an impact last year, Benson’s numbers have taken a huge leap forward from the five points and six rebounds per game we saw in the 2016-2017 season.
Benson started playing basketball in the sixth grade, but she said she wasn’t that good at first. Even so, Benson powered through and decided to stick with basketball. “Being an athlete just runs in the family and my sisters played basketball,” Benson said. “So that’s what made me stick with it.”
Benson’s sister Barbara is a year younger, and also plays for UTSA as a freshman. “We’ve been playing together for a very long time,” said Benson. “Last year was just like a break, but it’s good to play with her again since we have that sister connection when we’re on the court together.”
After living in Amarillo throughout the early years of her life, Benson moved to Waco, Texas where she attended Midway High School. While playing basketball at Midway, Benson was a four-year letterman and averaged 17 points per game her senior year. She also led her team to the playoff semi-finals in her final high school season and earned all-academic honors.
After high school, Benson visited a few other universities but eventually wound up choosing UTSA. “UTSA just felt more home-like than some of my other visits,” Benson said. “My other visits I felt like they were just telling me what I wanted to hear to go there, but UTSA felt real.”
Now a sophomore at UTSA, Benson is a health major but plans to go into nursing in the future. “I’m a health major because nursing is only a two-year program and health is four. I just want to get as much as I can out of college,” Benson said. Hopefully in a few short years, Benson will have a new successful career in the nursing field.
During basketball season, Benson, like many other athletes, has very limited free time. However, when she does get time to herself Benson says she enjoys spending time with her friends and teammates. “I like to hang out with my teammates because we’re always together. If not, I’ll binge-watch something on Netflix,” Benson said.
Aside from basketball, Benson also considers herself somewhat of an artist. “I can draw a little bit although it’s not something I do daily,” Benson said with a smile. “When I was in high school and whenever i was stressed or something I would usually draw.”
“My favorite part about playing basketball for UTSA has been just being with my teammates,” Benson said about her time at UTSA thus far. “My freshmen year I only hung out with the other freshmen, but this year I feel like I’m connecting with everybody,” she said.
For Benson, basketball has played a tremendous role in her life, and has shaped her into a more confident individual. “Basketball has helped me come out of my shell and be a lot more confident in myself,” said Benson. “I never made friends or put myself out there. That wasn’t me, but the sport has taught me how to speak up for myself and be more confident.”
Although Benson is just a sophomore, she’s already proving to be the cornerstone of the team. Her unwavering production and solid play shows that she is poised to lead the team come next season. Benson and the rest of the UTSA women’s basketball team will be back in action on Feb. 23 when they take on the UTEP Miners in El Paso.