Heather Stenhouse (2019) | Player

Heather Stenhouse began her Otago representative career at a very auspicious time – the Silver Jubilee of the Otago Women’s Indoor Basketball Association. Perhaps this was an omen of what was in front of her; a marvellous 11 years of NZ basketball representation and success.

She began her Otago rep career as a 17-year-old and would go on to win five national titles for the province, making the Tournament Team at the national championships on six occasions. She also represented the South Island team for 11 years.

Heather’s very first tour with the New Zealand team was to the 1967 State Champs where she began her stellar tenure as an elite international player.

By 1974 coach John Paul revealed just how valuable a player Heather had become.

“No report could adequately cover the tremendous contribution she made on the 1974 tour, it was quite remarkable. I would have no hesitation in saying that she would be the best backcourt player in Australasia.

“She scored 131 points in 9 games at 14.5ppg. That was almost a third of the total points scored by the team.

“She finished second top scorer from all teams at the Australian State Champs and was the only guard to make the All-Star Team on each day of the tournament.

“A lot was asked of her both as a playmaker and leader, roles she performed as well as I could have hoped for and through the early games she definitely carried the team.”

Heather was a consistently high scorer, whether the competition was the annual North versus South Island game or against any of the visiting international touring teams.

It was during her long term tenure with Otago that her ability as a leader developed. Otago had a fantastic run of success, achieving a three-peat at the national championships in the late ‘60s.

Building on this leadership with Otago, Heather was selected as captain of New Zealand for three tours to Australia between 1971 and 1977 plus the 1973 internal tour.

Heather could have been an asset to any US college team, however that pathway wasn’t available to our pioneer players at the time.

Heather Stenhouse’s consistent superb play, length of time playing representative basketball and leadership qualities on New Zealand touring teams made her an outstanding player and a worthy recipient of New Zealand Basketball Hall of Fame status.