Kayla Key | Staff Writer
There are few people who experience the mounds and mounds of chocolate bars given to them when they win the semi-final round of Pennsylvania’s PIAA State Championship basketball season and you know you will be going to Hershey Park’s Giant Center to play the final game of your high school career. Senior sports management major Malia Tate-Defreitas, who was a class A point guard for her state championship team, knows that feeling. Four years later, and a long way from both her hometown of Harrisburg and those days of scoring over 3,000 points for her high school, Steelton-Highspire, Tate-Defreitas recently hit a milestone scoring over 2,000 collegiate points. In this Q&A, she tells us what has motivated her throughout her life and her career en route to making history as Hampton’s Division I all-time leading female scorer.
Q: You are in a rare club of basketball athletes, male or female, to score over 2,000 points in your collegiate career. What was going through your mind going into the St. Peter’s game knowing you were that close to this milestone?
A: To be honest, I tried not to think about it because I knew I would get anxious or nervous. I just knew I had to play my best game, because I knew I was close to breaking the record and I wanted to just get it over with.
Q: Who or what contributes most to your success?
A: I would say my grandmother motivates me to do my best every game and in life. She has been through so many things in her life and I feel as though if she can make it, then I can do anything I want to achieve in life. She also just makes me thankful for my talent and reminds me not to take it for granted.
Q: You have been MEAC Rookie of the Year, MEAC Player of the Year, and now Hampton’s Div. I all-time leading scorer. Has this had time to sink in and what does it all mean to you?
A: All of my accomplishments have not sunk in yet. I never thought I would ever accomplish all of these things in college, because the game of basketball is much harder. I never thought a little girl from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania could do these things. It is truly a blessing.
Q: Back in high school, you were Steelton-Highspire’s all time leading scorer with over 3,000 points. What would college senior Malia tell high school senior Malia, the two-time state champion?
A: I think I would have told myself to ‘Never give up on the game’ because the game of basketball can take you many places in life and make you a lot of money. Also, to always outwork people because when you get older it will get harder.
Q: What is one thing about you that readers would be surprised to know (hobbies, etc.)?
A: I have a life outside of basketball I love going shopping, going to the movies, and getting my nails done. I’m just a girly girl outside of basketball. Also, I love the city I come from and I’m very family-oriented.
Q: What are your plans, post graduation and do those plans include basketball?
A: Yes they do. I plan on playing professional basketball, and hopefully get my masters in marketing.
Q: What advice would you give to new collegiate athletes managing school work and a collegiate athlete’s practice and travel schedule?
A: I would let them know that it is not easy and it will get harder every year, but you have to push through and find something to motivate you to do your best. I would tell them that school comes first, then basketball but make sure you know how to balance out the two. Lastly, even though it may seem like a lot is going on at one time, do not let anyone take your love for the game.