To stay ready isn’t just a mindset, it’s a way of life for WNBA player Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks.
Playing time is not a guarantee in pro ball, especially for bench players, so it’s best to be prepared for anything – especially if your team looks to you with a playoff spot on the line.
That’s what happened Friday night, when the Chicago Sky called on Hebard and she answered with a season-high 10 points in 12 minutes to key a 92-87 victory over the Minnesota Lynx.
The 6-foot-4 Alaskan played an especially crucial role in the fourth quarter. She subbed in with the Sky nursing a 69-65 lead and wasted no time making her impact felt as she knocked down a shot in the paint 26 seconds after checking in.
She kept it going, collecting four points, three rebounds and a blocked shot in a six-minute span as Chicago’s lead doubled with her on the court.
Hebard made 4-of-5 field goals and both free throws to notch double figures for the first time in 63 games dating back to 2021.
— Chicago Sky (@chicagosky) September 9, 2023
With the win, Chicago snagged the final spot in the WNBA playoffs and will be the No. 8 seed facing the top-seeded and defending league champion Las Vegas Aces.
It’s a best-of-3 first-round matchup that will pit Hebard against reigning league MVP A’ja Wilson, who is considered the best player in the world.
Hebard has squared off against world-class players for years. She is one herself.
In 2020, as a rookie, Hebard faced off against Alyssa Thomas in a winner-take-all playoff loss to Connecticut.
The former top-10 draft pick out of West Valley High and the University of Oregon is now in her fourth season; she’s one of three Alaskans to reach career benchmarks of 400 points and 300 rebounds in the WNBA.
She also became the first Alaskan to win a WNBA championship in 2021. Her road to another title begins Wednesday in Sin City.
Hebard has made seven career appearances in the postseason, a number that is sure to grow as she moves closer to Alaska’s all-time leader Jessica Moore, a Palmer native and former Colony High star who played in 26 WNBA playoff games with Los Angeles, Indiana and Connecticut.