High School Player
Her parents once forgot to sign her up for basketball at the local community center, and as the story goes, Heather Buck was very upset. Little did they imagine, at that moment, that there would be many more chapters in Heather’s basketball story. Buck recalls that from then on, she just always looked forward to whatever came next in the sport.
“I loved playing, loved the hard work of it, loved competing and succeeding,” she said. “Basketball became intricately woven into almost all aspects of my life. Looking back, I appreciate the doors that it has opened for me, the experiences playing has afforded me, and the lessons I learned about myself and about life, by playing a game.
“It's not just about learning to play basketball, it's not about learning to be good at the game, but what you learn about yourself as a human being,” Heather told The Day of New London, upon her election to the hall of fame. “What you're capable of. What it feels like to be successful. What it feels like to fail. How you respond to failure. How do you function within a team? How do you build people up? How do you respect other people? It's all of those things.”
Heather graduated from Stonington High School in 2008 with a program record 2,205 points and 1,406 rebounds. Twice she was selected as the Gatorade Connecticut Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year. In addition, the 6’3” center was a four-time all-state selection, two-time Hartford Courant Player of the Year, three-time New Haven Register Player of the Year and four-time All-Area Player of the Year at both The Day and the Norwich Bulletin. Averaging double figures in both points and rebounds during all four seasons, Heather culminated her senior year by averaging 26.4 points and a career-best 15.8 rebounds per game. She also posted 331 blocked shots. The Bears won the 2006 Class M State Championship, one of Heather's fondest basketball memories, and were the runners-up in 2005.
At UConn, Heather redshirted as a freshman and went on to graduate with honors from the UConn School of Nursing in 2013. She went to five straight Final Fours with the Huskies, who won national championships in 2009, 2010 and 2013. She was part of the program's 90-game winning streak, which at the time, established an NCAA record for men's and women's basketball. In the midst of that UConn streak, Heather memorably took the floor during her junior season, against Baylor and 6’8”star Brittney Griner. With UConn trailing when Heather entered the game, she defended Griner mightily for the final eight minutes as the Huskies came back and won, 65-64.
Heather now lives in West Hartford, along with her husband, Jimmy Bennett, a 2014 UConn graduate, and former member of the school's football team. A registered nurse at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, she enjoys baking, making home improvements and volunteering at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. In previous seasons, she served as a volunteer assistant at Marianapolis Prep.
Said Heather of her outlook on basketball: “Always remember that this is a game we play because it is fun and we love it. I have found that those who have fun when they play are actually much better players than those who are playing for other reasons.”