Cathy Iaconeta

When Cathy Iaconeta was a student at Presumpscot Elementary School, her last name was posted as one of the highest scorers on the physical fitness test.
The boys’ basketball coach — there was no girls’ team — asked the gym teacher why one of the fittest boys in school wasn’t playing on his squad.
The teacher told him that Iaconeta — and her high-achieving siblings — were girls. A girls’ basketball team was added the next year, and the squad made it to the championship game.
At Portland High School, playing for 300-plus-win coach Ed Feeney, “Ike” was an All-State player and led the Bulldogs to Class A state championships in 1984 and 1985.
Iaconeta said then-University of Maine coach Peter Gavett was the lone coach to offer her a college scholarship.
“I was lucky Coach Gavett game me an opportunity,” she said. “I was barely 5 feet tall, but I think he saw heart, and fire and competitiveness and he took a chance.”
Soon, fans saw that heart, fire and competitiveness, too. Iaconeta, who jokes she had a growth spurt in college and soared to 5 feet 2 inches, was an All-Conference player in Orono.
She led the Black Bears to a 23-7 record and an WNIT appearance in 1990, her senior season. In the Black Bears’ 68-48 victory over Wyoming in the WNIT, “Ike” recorded a triple double.
The two-time captain finished with 412 assists in her career — which puts her in the top five all-time.
During the 88-89 and 89-90 seasons, the fan favorite averaged more than 4.4 assists per game and was the squad’s second-leading scorer, averaging more than 9 points per contest. She was a first-year player on the 1986-87 UMaine squad that notched a 24-4 record.
“I think people saw who I am when I was on the court,” she says. “I’m fiercely competitive and fiercely loyal. I loved every minute of it.”
Iaconeta treasures her experiences playing professionally in Switzerland, including having her family visit, learning to ski, traveling and scoring 53 points in one contest.
“Overseas, I was told to shoot more. I had never been told to shoot more before as a point guard,” she laughs.
Ike says when she lived in California, she’d go to parks to play pickup games. “I would be the last one picked,” she says. “Then after the first game, I’d be the first picked.”
Iaconeta, who works as a claims manager at Prudential, says she’s thankful for all her wonderful coaches and teammates who pushed her to succeed. She says that’s served her well to go through life and meet challenges with confidence.
Her family — including her parents, Michael and Caroline; her sisters, Theresa, Christine (her twin) and Brigida; her 12-year-old twins, Dani and Jaden; and her partner, Tony Prescott and his son, William — mean the world to her.
Iaconeta, who works as a claims manager at Prudential, says she’s humbled by her induction into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Basketball has given me quite a ride,” she says. “This is the cherry on top.”