Campus Currents

A Basketball Odyssey

The pass comes in to Orsi Farkas, the play-making center of the UNH women's basketball team. Farkas fakes a step to her right, pivots and soars for an easy lay-up.

What is it about that move that makes it impossible to block? If you ask Farkas, she'll reply with a laugh—she likes to laugh—"That spin move? It's not that complicated. It's nothing special."

Senior Orsi Farkas is hard to beat—both on and off the court.

But it is. Much about UNH's 6-foot-2 center is special. She led the Wildcats to a 19-8 record and a shot at the America East title last year, and last fall was named America East Scholar Athlete of the year. A native of Budapest, Hungary, she speaks three languages fluently and feels badly that she isn't more conversant in two others. And she has a 3.93 grade-point average as a senior business administration major.

Farkas makes about 60 percent of her shots in a sport where players who make 50 to 55 percent are considered good shooters. She is extremely quick, especially for her size. She has made herself a more physical player and improved her shooting range since last season, which may help her play professionally after she graduates.

In part, her skill is a reflection of her experience playing basketball in Europe. There, the game is played with more finesse, and the bigger players aren't dumped under the basket and told to stay put while someone else handles the ball.

Farkas and her teammates this year are out to claim an America East Championship and a spot in the postseason playoffs. "My dream is to play in the NCAA tournament," Farkas says. "To play Tennessee or UConn or one of the great teams."

She has seen dreams come true before. Once she dreamed of going to a U.S. college and playing basketball. Guy Cosby '72 and his wife, Karen Houston, of Madbury, N.H., helped to make that happen. They lived in Budapest and became friends with the Farkas family. The couple were Farkas' first contact with UNH, and they have been her family away from home for four years.

"She's an extraordinary person," Houston says. "She's tremendously smart, talented and focused on what she wants to accomplish."

Farkas has no regrets about coming to the States, but she does miss home at times. She makes the 13-hour flight home to Budapest once or twice a year and keeps in touch via e-mail.

"Orsi is a legitimate candidate for player of the year," says coach Sue Johnson. "The player of the year is usually on the team that wins the championship, and we have the potential to do that this season. A lot is riding on her shoulders. I think she's up to the task."

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