After 14 years of playing basketball, Cameryn Benz still doesn’t feel satisfied with her career.
Benz, a senior forward on the Lehigh women’s basketball team, looks toward the postseason in March when she and her teammates have the opportunity to win a first Patriot League Championship since 2010.
During her recruiting process Benz wanted to find a basketball program that was both close to home, and offered a tight-knit group of staff and players. Hailing from Montgomery, New Jersey, Benz found that Lehigh fit this criteria.
“They’re more than just coaches here,” Benz said. “They’re like a family to you, and I think that’s a huge aspect that is missing in a lot of places. I really appreciate that not only the coaches are a family, but the team, too.”
Benz was a multi-sport athlete growing up, but it wasn’t until her junior year of high school that she realized she excelled in basketball more than she did in soccer or track and field.
Head coach Sue Troyan said Benz is one of the players who has experienced the most personal growth during her Lehigh experience.
“She has matured as a leader on the floor,” Troyan said in an email. “With a quiet confidence to knock down big shots in big moments during games, she has developed significantly as a player over the past four years, improving all aspects of her game with her offensive skill sets, her defensive presence on the floor and her overall rebounding abilities. As she found her passion in the business school, her maturity and confidence as a student grew as a repeated dean’s list student in her junior and senior years.”
Troyan, who described Benz as a humble young woman and a great teammate, said Benz stands out for many reasons, but especially for her care and love for individuals on and off the court.
Though Benz only has a couple months left in her career as a Mountain Hawk, she said the thought of graduating hasn’t fully sunk in yet.
“The weirdest part is that I’m going to be done with basketball forever,” Benz said. “It feels good and bad at the same time.”
Hannah Hedstrom, a senior guard on the team, said Benz’s selfless and genuine nature makes her a great friend off the court, but it’s her physical and technical capabilities that make her stand out.
Hedstrom said Benz arrived freshman year full of talent and athleticism, but has since developed her basketball skills and her abilities to lead the team. She also said she has seen Benz grow as an athlete more than anyone whom she’s played with in her four years at Lehigh.
Associate head coach Glenn Rigney acknowledged the growth that Benz has experienced since beginning to play at the collegiate level.
“You mature,” Rigney said. “You look at things a little bit differently. You become more of a leader, and I think (Benz has) done all of those well.”
Benz admitted there are many aspects of being a Mountain Hawk that she will miss when the season does come to an end, including her teammates and the journey they’ve been through together.
It may be her final season playing for Lehigh, but Benz said she has advice for the underclassmen — to continue enjoying their time playing with each other.
“(The Lehigh women’s basketball program) will exceed your expectations in all ways,” Benz said. “If you commit to it and really buy into your team and understand roles, there’s always going to be positives in the end.”
Next, the Mountain Hawks face rival Lafayette away from home on Feb. 8.