HBU women’s hoops a winning mix of Texan and international flavors

HBU sits atop the Southland Conference standings with a lineup with a largely global feel. KPRC 2's Randy McIlvoy takes an in-depth look at what has helped the Huskies make their on-court performance above and beyond.

HOUSTON – HBU’s women’s basketball team has shown so far this season how diversity can enhance their on-court results.

The Huskies sit atop the Southland Conference standings and are currently enjoying a seven-game winning streak on their way to a 16-9 record, including 12-2 in conference play and 10-2 at home.

Taking a glance at their roster, the recipe for the team’s winning includes six Texans and seven from outside the United States. The worldly combination has certainly proven effective in the wins column.

“Our culture in the locker room has been so strong for years now because of the diversity,” said Donna Finnie, the team’s head coach and also the first ever international to land a head coaching job in NCAA Division I basketball. The native of Scotland is also the winningest coach in HBU women’s hoops history.

Anna and Enya Maguire are from Northern Ireland. Amy Cotton, Felicity Hilford, Lauryn Mapusua, and Abbey Sutherland are from Austrailia. And Julija Vujakovic hails from Luxembourg.

“I love that we have so many different cultures and different accents,” Sutherland said. “Julija, who speaks like five different languages every time she’s on the phone with her parents - I think it’s so interesting that we all bring something different to the team.”

“They come over there probably having been away from home a lot, playing for their national teams,” Finnie said. “They travel on their own, they’re used to having to kind of cope for themselves, so the transition of being away from home isn’t as tough as people think for a lot of these girls.”

This is all appreciated by the native Texans on the roster as well.

“We get to learn about different cultures because we have a lot of people from different places,” said Timia Jefferson, one of three Huskies from Mansfield. “We learn a lot about their cultures, and I really love their accents.”

And learning about cultures can go the other way too.

“I never tried queso before coming here,” Sutherland said. “Queso, like, changed my life.”

About the Author:

Born in Canada but raised in Houston, Howard joined KPRC 2 in 2021 after five years at ESPN. Before that, Howard was a reporter on Houston Rockets and Houston Astros game broadcasts. Among the events that Howard has covered on site: the NBA bubble and the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions for both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. He's H-town proud!