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Lahde Spends Summer With Finland National Team

Sept. 19, 2007

Moraga, CA - While most college students may enjoy some relaxation and embark on various travels over the break, Saint Mary's senior forward Maija Lahde spent her summer representing her country of Finland. Relaxation was not part of the formula, while trips to such places like Estonia was considered just part of the job.

"It's an honor to play for my country," Lahde said. "It's a great experience to play internationally and to play for coach Domingo Diaz"

Diaz was the head coach of Spain, where he guided the women's team to a third place finish in the 2005 European Championships.

This past summer marked the second year that Lahde had suited up for the Women's National Team of Finland. Lahde spent time with the team after her freshman season at Saint Mary's.

The Espoo, Finland native is one of three on the team that currently play in the United States. All but one on the roster played college ball in the states.

Lahde participated in two tournaments this summer. Finland played tournaments in Estonia and Bulgaria. At the Estonia Tournament, Finland placed second with wins over Sweden and host Estonia. In Bulgaria, Finland took top honors with victories over Romania and Slovenia.

Lahde worked her way into Diaz' system and was primarily used on defense and to rebound. Last season with the Gaels, Lahde was second on the team with 7.1 rebounds per contest.

After the 6-1 forward finishes her collegiate career at SMC, Lahde plans to follow in the footsteps of former Gael standouts Triola Jackson and Sheridan Arredondo and play overseas.

"I am looking forward to continuing my basketball career," Lahde said. "The chance to play professionally and to be fully committed to the national team is exciting."

Lahde and the rest of the Gaels will open their 2007-08 campaign against Loyola University of New Orleans. The exhibition matchup is slated for Saturday, November 3 at 2 p.m. in McKeon Pavilion.