When she sought to transfer, Mary Badeen went to the school she had chosen first all along.

Badeen, a Newport native and Messalonskee High School graduate, attended Lasell College as a freshman before transferring to Maine Maritime Academy, where she played on the women’s basketball team the second semester and averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Now a sophomore, Badeen is at Arcadia University, just outside Philadelphia. Badeen is majoring in International Studies with an Italian minor.

“When I was deciding to transfer again, it’s the No. 1 school for studying abroad,” Badeen said. “When I was at MMA, it was gorgeous, and I loved the team, but I just had nothing to study.”

Asked how Arcadia has turned out for her, Badeen said, “I love it, actually. I’m not homesick at all.”

As happy as Badeen is to be in Pennsylvania, Arcadia coach Lorie Khalil is even more thrilled. Khalil even said she was “bummed out” when Badeen opted not to attend Arcadia out of high school.

“When I first got the job here, Mary was actually my first recruit on a visit,” Khalil said. “She reached out to me in the spring last year. She said she maybe wanted to come to Arcadia. I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I recruited her heavy coming out of high school.”

Badeen has been exactly the kind of player Khalil was hoping for when she recruited the kid from Maine. Through four non-conference games this season, Badeen is averaging 19.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 4.5 steals per game.

“Oh my gosh, she just plays so fearless,” Khalil said. “The girls is a winner. I love the girl to pieces. She’s that positive spark. She’s really a team player, and she’s so coachable.”

At 5 foot 4, Badeen plays the “3” position, which would normally be a small forward, but Arcadia plays a three-guard offense.

“The three guards we have, we’re all kind of interchangeable,” Badeen said. “I still bring the ball up sometimes.”

Badeen has always been a good rebounder, and her 21 defensive rebounds lead the Knights.

“It’s not really skill as a rebounder,” Badeen said. “You just have to have the heart for it and go for the ball and box out. That’s the key.”

One of Badeen’s biggest contributions is her outside shooting. She’s taken 39 3-pointers in four games, and is hitting 46 percent from long range.

“That’s why I wanted her so bad from the get-go,” Khalil said. “We’re big inside. In order for teams to honor our outside game, our guards have to hit shots.”

Badeen was named the Most Valuable Player of the Roadrunner Tip-Off tournament earlier this month at Ramapo College, and Arcadia is off to a 5-0 start. But the Knights were 8-1 outside the Middle Atlantic Conference last season, but were 2-14 in conference play to finish 2-14.

The MAC is divided into two conferences, the Commonwealth and Freedom. Arcadia is one of three teams in the Commonwealth Conference, and three of the other nine made the NCAA Division III tournament last winter.

“And all the other teams, the 4-5-6-7-8-9 teams, are not far behind,” Khalil said. “So it’s day in and day out.”

Badeen said the team’s goals are to have a 3.5 GPA as a team, win the school’s strength and conditioning contest, and make the conference tournament. For herself, she just wants to keep her grades up and help the team any way she can.

“It’s like home away from home,” Badeen said. “I don’t even feel like I’m out of Maine. Right when I came here, it just fit.”

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

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