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Kevin Schnepf, Published April 13 2010

Bison women's basketball: Linz has Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Last Thursday, Hannah Linz was playing two-on-two basketball. Friday, the North Dakota State women’s basketball player was undergoing chemotherapy.

“Everything happened so quickly,” NDSU head coach Carolyn DeHoff said, referring to her freshman player being diagnosed last Thursday with Hodgkin’s lymphoma – a cancer of the lymphatic system.

“The outlook is great. Hannah wants to be back on the team by next season. That’s what we are all shooting for.”

Linz, a 5-foot-11 freshman from Watkins, Minn., was having trouble breathing during an individual workout last Thursday at the Bison Sports Arena. After her shooting and ball handling drills, she felt fatigued during a 15-minute, two-on-two workout.

“I could barely breathe at all,” Linz wrote in her CaringBridge.org journal. “I thought it was pretty odd since I was in pretty good shape.”

Linz was eventually sent to NDSU’s Wellness Center, where doctors sent her to MeritCare to get a chest X-ray – which revealed fluid in her lungs.

A scan later that night revealed Linz had Hodgkin's lymphoma.

“After I heard that I was pretty much in shock,” Linz wrote in her journal. “I didn’t want to believe it.”

Linz underwent the first of a scheduled 12 chemotherapy treatments on Friday. She was released from the hospital Sunday and is staying at a hotel with her parents Robert and Linda.

Linz is scheduled to have two treatments a month over a six-month period.

“In terms of it being treatable and in terms of her spirits being very high, it’s incredible,” said DeHoff. “You learn so much about a person’s character during something like this.

“Hannah has a great sense of humor and has that ability to smile. She took all this for what it was and said ‘I’m going to beat this.’ She looks great.”

Linz, who went shopping for a wig on Monday, played in 27 games for the Bison last season. She averaged 4 points – making 33 percent of her field goals and 32 percent of her 3-pointers.

“As a player, when she gets her strength back from all of this, she will be a better player for it,” DeHoff said.

The Linz family has set up a Caring Bridge site at www.caringbridge.org/visit/hannahlinz/mystory.

Readers can reach Forum sports editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549