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Nov. 20, 2005

by Cathy Bongiovi-Stewart

Imagine standing 6’7″ as an eighth grader and getting cut from the middle school basketball team. Not many would continue to pursue the sport.

But when that happened to Lindsay Hayward, she didn’t give up. Luckily she caught the eye of an AAU coach, and her dream of playing basketball became a reality.

Now her persistence and hard work have propelled her to the University of Virginia.

“I didn’t start playing full throttle until my freshman year (of high school),” Hayward revealed.

Perhaps basketball came easy to her because of her height. Tied with nine others as the tallest woman in the world, according to, Hayward is the tallest Cavalier at 6’9″.

“My dad’s 6’7″, and my mom’s 6’0″. I’ve been big all my life. When I was born I was 24 inches long,” Hayward shared. “I don’t respect people who are tall and slump over. It shows that they don’t respect who they are.”

Now the center from Rocklin, Calif., Hayward hopes to provide immediate help to the Cavalier post play.

A two-time Street & Smith’s Honorable Mention All-American, she averaged 10 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks per game for Rocklin HS.

“Lindsay finishes well around the basket and also steps out into the 15-foot range to score,” head coach Debbie Ryan said. “Lindsay will obviously alter a lot of shots during her career.”

The California native trekked cross country to further her education.

“The ACC is the best in the country,” Hayward said. “I want to improve, I want to get better, and I want to be the best I can be. The ACC will help me a lot. I also want to travel. I want to see different cultures and the whole United States rather than just (California).

“What I like most about UVa is what it has to offer. I know that I’m getting the best academic-wise and basketball-wise.”

In her short time on the East coast, Hayward has noticed some differences.

“The weather, the people, the culture. The food, everything,” she said. “The food (here) is not as spicy. It’s Southern; the focus isn’t the same. In California, the focus is on Chinese food and the Asian culture. We’re very diverse. Sacramento is the most diverse city in the United States.”

While she is now enjoying Southern living, Hayward has diverse interests herself. A poet and song writer, she hopes to enhance her writing abilities.

“I just write my own stuff. I had some good ideas and wrote them down,” Hayward said. “I listen to songs, and I like a certain kind of lyrics. Then I can relate to that. I can relate to words and putting them into format. I’m thinking about majoring in English or media studies.”

Her biggest challenge on Grounds has been the adjustment to collegiate basketball, especially preseason conditioning.

“For me it’s all the running,” Hayward said. “It’s really like the structure of writing. They have to chop you up before they can build you back up. You have to erase all the bad habits you’ve ever had in your life, and get built back up.”

With four years of basketball ahead of her, Hayward would like to contribute to the Cavaliers’ success during her first year, which her goals for the season reflect.

“To get in a rhythm- get consistent, get fundamentally sound,” she shared. “Become a better person all-around, and do well in school, of course.”

In addition to the ferocious ACC teams that UVa will face this winter, Hayward has another personal goal- to play in the snow.

“I’ve seen it, but I’ve never really played in it.” Hayward said.

Lindsay’s Favorites
Food: Sushi
Ice cream: Cookies & Cream
Color: Black
Place: Ana Capri, Italy
WNBA Team: Sacramento Monarchs
Athlete: Lauren Jackson
Movie: Zoolander
Actor: Adam Sandler
TV Show: Family Guy
Spot on Grounds: Dell pond
Class at UVa: Media studies

My pregame rituals are …
listening to music and stretching.

I love to cook …
chicken alfredo.

Three words that best describe me are …
intuitive, inquisitive, unforgettable.

Nobody knows how much …
l love to write.

My advice to a young athlete is …
maintain good grades and never lose focus.

I chose my jersey number #41, because …
4 out, 1 in, a center’s dream.

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