This year, Fairfield welcomed Helena Orts ‘18, an international student and basketball player from Barcelona, Spain. Orts joined the new group of six freshmen who look to be competitive this year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference as part of the women’s basketball team.

This past summer, Orts had the opportunity to compete in China as she represented her home country of Spain in the 3×3 tournament that was part of the Youth Olympic Games.

Orts’ basketball career started at age eight when she attended a school known for its basketball program. Orts’ sister also played basketball at that same school. Prior to her first experience with basketball, Orts had been doing judo; a modern martial art and combat sport.

She was able to combine her skills in judo and play basketball at the same time. At first, Orts did not like the game of basketball, but as time went by her love for the game increased. She had a very successful high school career in Spain, as she led her team to postseason success where she and her teammates were able to capture the Spanish Junior Championship as well as the Catalan Junior and Senior Championship.

Orts says that her junior year of high school was the most important. She made a big transition as she moved on to a more competitive club, where she was able to compete among a stronger pool of players. After some successful seasons, Orts was award MVP twice, in 2012 and in 2014.

After great success in high school, Orts received a call from the Spanish selection crew for the Youth Olympic Games for the first time. She was informed that she was selected to participate in the 3×3 tournament in China as part of the Youth Olympic Games, an honor that she did not expect. One word summed up her experience in China – “wow” – as other words could not describe how memorable this experience was for the young Spaniard. Orts and her teammates were not able to win the gold, but they played well enough for third place where they earned the bronze medal.

Orts came to Fairfield as opposed to other colleges because of the people here. When she visited Fairfield for the first time, the community of students, coaches and faculty really caught her attention.

Be sure to catch Orts and the Stags in their upcoming season. Support the women’s basketball team as they open their season on the road in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament against East Carolina and Marshall on Nov. 14 and 15, respectively. The first home game of the season will take place on Nov. 22 against Butler University.

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