As she considered her college options, both as a student and an athlete, playing basketball at the University of Maine at Augusta was not one of Haley Madore’s choices.

“I actually didn’t know UMA had a basketball team,” Madore said.

Madore grew up in Winslow and graduated from Winslow High School in 2009. She visited her grandparents in Arizona several times over the years, and dreamed of attending Arizona State University.

“I found out how expensive it was,” Madore said. “So I just went to a community college.”

Madore moved back to Maine and discovered UMA, where her major is in the social science field with a concentration in organizational behavior. One of her friends, Erskine graduate Ashley Peaslee, became a 1,000-point scorer for the Moose, and sold Madore on UMA basketball.

“I just saw how happy how she was,” Madore said.

After joining the Moose, Madore had two solid seasons, averaging 5.9 points and a team-high 10.8 rebounds per game last winter. UMA coach Jennifer Laney says Madore is a power forward, but is also comfortable on the perimeter. But Laney says Madore’s legacy at UMA will be as a leader.

“She’s been able to have a positive impact on every single player,” Laney said. “I’m constantly trying to push her, and she keeps surprising me with improvement on and off the court.”

Madore describes Laney as the kind of coach she needed — one who would have enough confidence to leave her in the game after a turnover followed by a missed layup, but also one who would prod her to become a better player.

“It was always my dream to play college basketball,” Madore said. “In high school, I didn’t play that much.”

Still, Laney was under the impression that last season would be the end of Madore’s career at UMA. For one thing, Madore is handling a full-time job in addition to basketball and a full courseload. She’s a corrections officer at Somerset County Jail, and said she worked 96 hours there over the past two weeks. She also works the overnight shift.

“Somehow I manage through it,” Madore said, laughing. “My boyfriend and most of my friends all work at the jail too.”

That schedule plus her schoolwork left Madore with no time to play basketball in the first semester. After missing the first three games in January, she returned on Jan. 22 and has been averaging about 30 minutes per night.

“I go to almost every practice I can, and I definitely make it to the games,” Madore said. “If there’s a game, and I’m scheduled to work, I get the day off.”

“Time management is something we try to help our student-athletes with, and I think she’s a great example of that,” Laney said. “She’s someone who was able to take a semester off, and step back right in where she left off. With our injuries that we’ve suffered through this season, and numbers dwindling a little bit, she’s really helped out as a strong asset for us.”

Heading into Tuesday night’s game with Central Maine Community College, UMA was 12-8 overall and 9-4 in the Yankee Small College Conference. Madore, who graduates in May, would like to help the Moose make it to the national tournament.

“They’re such a great team,” she said. “All I want to do is push them and support them as much as I can.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243 [email protected] Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo