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Above left, Maria Liddane, seated center, has the support of her family; seated from left, older sisters, Allison and Micaela; and standing from left, mother, Jeanne; brother, Thomas; father, Michael; and North girls' varsity basketball head coach, Gary Bennett. Above right, North 2014 graduate Maria Liddane standing on the court she will be playing on as a member of American University's women's basketball team. Photo courtesy of Liddane family

July 31, 2014
Maria Liddane has rehabbed a serious knee injury and is ready to play at the next level, which is for American University and its women's basketball team.

The 2014 Grosse Pointe North graduate tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee early in the basketball season of her senior year.

It was a serious blow to the Norsemen's team and to Liddane, but she never lost focus of her ultimate goal, playing college basketball.

"Physical therapy is going very well," Liddane said. "The athletic training staff here (at American University) has been extremely helpful in the last bit of my recovery. I'll be ready for the season."

Liddane is playing her collegiate basketball for second-year AU head coach Megan Gebbia.

The Eagles finished 22-10 last season, including 14-4 in the Patriot League. The team made the WNIT, losing 63-60 to Seton Hall in the first round.

The Eagles' Patriot League foes are Navy, Army, Bucknell, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Boston University, Lehigh, Colgate and Loyola.

Liddane was one of the best guards in the Macomb Area Conference during her four years on the varsity squad, playing for head coach Gary Bennett.

She earned Academic All-State Basketball in 2013 and 2014, as well as Detroit Free Press All-Metro Detroit Third Team and First Team All-Metro East in 2013. She made MAC Red Conference First Team in 2012 and 2013, plus was selected for the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Reaching Higher Event. She was ranked No. 27 in the state among all classes heading into her senior year, plus was Associated Press All-State and MHSSA Academic All-State in 2014, as well as BCAM All-State in 2013.

Liddane earned the MAC Scholar Athlete honor for basketball and tennis in 2011, 2012 and 2013, plus 2012 for volleyball.

She was a basketball team captain her sophomore, junior and senior year, as well as the team most valuable player and hardest worker her sophomore and junior seasons.

She was a four-year starter for Bennett and was the varsity tennis No. 4 singles quarterfinalist for Division II in 2011.

Liddane played AAU hoops for the Michigan Shock and she said the highlight of her high school career was playing her freshman season with her sister, Micaela, who was a senior at the time.

Playing high level AAU and for North has helped Liddane fine-tune her skills. Her dribbling is flawless and she can thread the needle with a pass or hit the open jumper. She has the ability to take any defender off the dribble or hit a teammate with a perfect pass for a layup.

Her defense is sound, too, which makes her a complete player.

"My favorite game was beating Grosse Pointe South in overtime in districts that year," Liddane said. "Mr. Bennett was one of the most influential people in my life.

"I enjoyed every second I got to play for him — every game, but especially every practice. I was lucky enough to have him as a basketball coach, but I'm blessed to have him still has a mentor and friend."

She chose American University because of its high academic standards and the competitive Division 1 basketball program it offers.

It also offers majors and internships she has an interest in, and being in the nation's capitol was a big draw for her.

"Above that, the coaching staff is wonderful," she said. "Their personalities and goals are everything I could ask for in my coaches and I'm looking forward to working with them the next four years."

Liddane is focusing on rehab to ensure her knee is 100 percent healthy.

"I'm excited to get back on the court to improve myself with my teammates," Liddane said.

She has not declared a major and is using her freshman year to figure out what she enjoys. However, print or broadcast journalism interests her, as does communications and public policy.

Liddane has spent most of the summer in D.C., along with several other freshmen, taking summer classes and having individual or small group workouts with my coaches, in addition to rehab sessions at the college.

She has also been involved in strength training and full team practices start in mid-October.

"Since I'm here for the summer, I have gotten a taste of being away from home," she said. "I really like it here in D.C., but I definitely miss my family. It's a good thing we have a family group chat."

Her father, Michael, and mother, Jeanne, live in Grosse Pointe Woods with her brother, Thomas. She also has two older sisters who graduated from Grosse Pointe North and played college athletics, Allison and Micaela.

Liddane has done the job in the classroom, finishing North with an 4.13 grade point average.

Her tenacity of earning great grades and managing her time is excellent. It will be tested at American University, but look for her to shine in the classroom and on the court.

Practice begins in October and her first collegiate game should be the first week of November.

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