Fairbanks’ Ruthy Hebard returns to the court

Fairbanks' Ruthy Hebard an Alaska Gatorade player of the year, an AP All-American, and a WNBA first round draft pick receives a new title.
Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 3:53 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Fairbanks’ Ruthy Hebard is an Alaska Gatorade player of the year, an AP All-American, and a WNBA first round draft pick. She recently received a new title, that to her, overtakes all of her titles.

Ruthy Hebard said the WNBA off-season started off like any other.

She explains, “I was obviously overseas for a while, and I was playing basketball,” until she started noticing some changes to her body.

Ruthy continued, “I was like, I am playing a lot of minutes so I don’t really know why I am getting a lot bigger… so I changed my diet and stuff and I was still getting bigger... Then we had a break in January. I went to Portland and I found out.”

Hebard found out she was 5 to 6 months pregnant. “I was like okay. My whole life has changed,” she said.

She was 24 years old at the time and preparing for her fourth WNBA season with the Chicago Sky.

“I flew to Chicago and did yoga and weights and basketball training and running every day up until the day I had him,” explained Hebert.

On April 11th, Xzavier Reid was born.

“I have people asking if I need help babysitting or need anything more for him. He’s pretty spoiled, the fans give him stuff. He’s very loved. He’s going to have a good life. I can’t wait to bring him home to Alaska,” expressed Hebert.

Then just about 12 weeks later, Ruthy Hebert returned to the court.

“Here’s Evans with it inside, nice move there, strong post up there by Ruthy Hebard. Really impressive. This is just her fourth game back after maternity leave, had her first child recently and getting back in game shape,” said an announcer during one of her recent games.

The 6-foot-4 basketball forward hasn’t missed a step.

“I feel actually really good. I think just going through pregnancy and after not being directly back on the court actually made me stronger and just a little bit more confident to get back on the court,” said Hebert.

Easing her way back into form for the Chicago Sky, Hebard scored 9 points and hauled in 3 rebounds in just 10 minutes of action in her 5th game back.

Even though she made her return look as smooth as her postgame, it wasn’t an easy journey for Alaska’s lone WNBA player.

She commented, “I definitely always wanted to get back but I think honestly there was some doubts. Especially when I first started running on the treadmill. I was like, oh my gosh, I feel so slow. It’s not comfortable. Am I ever going to be able to run how I used to run? Is my back always going to hurt? Are my hips always going to hurt?”

“But I pushed through and then I think I am playing some of the best basketball since I have been in the league, so I am really proud of myself,” she remarked.

Hebard is now a mother first before an athlete. She says she hopes to provide the same loving environment she had when she was adopted in Chicago, and raised in Fairbanks, while still playing at the highest level in the sport.

“Make sure he has everything like my parents did [for me], I am trying to be like my mom. Now I am realizing the things I rolled my eyes at that my mom did, I am going to do the same thing. Just learning from all of those great parental figures I had and being tough, I think Alaskans are tough. Being a mom, that is a badass and just doing more than just motherhood, showing females that we can do everything, really,” said mom and basketball athlete, Ruthy Hebert.

Congrats Ruthy. Great to see you back on the court.