Hailing from Farmersville, senior history major Panda Houseworth has played basketball at the University of Dallas all four years of her college career. Her love for basketball began early on in club ball, where she quickly found her place in the sport. Houseworth was recruited specifically to play basketball at UD, although that wasn’t the only factor that affected her decision to attend the school. Her sister had previously toured the school, and Houseworth said that she and her sister both “really enjoyed the feel of UD”’ and that the academic program played a role in her decision.
As all student athletes know, the sports scene at UD may be difficult as it can be challenging for student athletes to be involved on campus outside of sports. Their time is generally dominated by workouts, team bonding and games, leaving very little space for extracurricular activities.
Despite the time constraints, Houseworth manages to act as the Student Liaison for the Student Athlete Center, which focuses on broadening the scope of student athlete involvement on campus.
“The basketball team made UD home to me,” Houseworth said. She is endeavoring to give that love back to her fellow athletes by bridging the gap between them and the rest of campus.
When asked to confirm her height of five feet, two inches in an interview, Houseworth revealed that she’s actually five feet, one inch tall. The average height of a NCAA D3 point guard is five feet five inches. When asked if her height ever affected her performance, Houseworth quipped, “I just pretend that I’m 6’1 and get out there.” She certainly plays like she is every inch of “6’1”, as she has dominated the court this season.
Houseworth, one of the two captains of the women’s basketball team, plays an average of 33.5 minutes per game with a shooting success of 29.3% per game. She has started all 25 games that she has played, making her an invaluable asset to the team.
Alex Parkey, another senior basketball player, had different statistics on Houseworth, citing her as “consistently [giving] 100%.”
Coach Brianna Calver said in an email that Houseworth specifically excelled “in taking control of the team on the floor.” Calver said, “She was able to handle the ball against full court pressure and get us organized in the half court. She was a true senior leader.”
Her spirit was further exhibited when she revealed that she legally changed her name from Miranda to Panda at age 16. She explained, “I’ve never been known as my first name, I’ve always been known as Panda.”
Graduation does not spell the end of basketball for Houseworth. In fact, she intends to teach history and coach basketball at the high school that she attended. Houseworth was greatly influenced by her coach, Nick Grant, when she played for the club team the Takeovers. Grant inspired her love of basketball as he pushed her to be a better player. With this in mind, Houseworth wants to provide that same inspiration to high school students in the future.
Parkey commented, “[Panda’s] knowledge and passion for the game will make her an incredible coach.” Calver agreed with Parkey’s assessment of Houseworth’s knowledge and passion, citing her as taking on an integral role as their season progressed: “Panda grew into a true senior point guard that we could not have survived without.”
Culver also highly commended Panda for her work ethic, and her consistent team attitude: “Day in and day out we knew what we were going to get out of Panda. Regardless of the score or situation, she was always the hardest working player on the court. Panda will be truly missed!”
Although it’s often considered a trite phrase, we can honestly say that for Panda Houseworth, “ball is life.”