Written by Vinny Messana, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 06 March 2014 10:59
Sometimes taking a step back and returning to your comfort zone is the best decision you can make. Molloy’s standout basketball player Kelly Guerriero claims that was precisely the case with her.
“It was just too crazy,” said the Floral Park native in regards to her two-year tenure at Division-I Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland. “I am a very family-oriented person, and being four hours away meant I barely came home. I came home for only two days for Christmas break,” she added. It was at that time she made the choice to come back to Long Island and play for Division-II Molloy, virtually around the corner.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” she stated. It is hard to argue with the results on the court. Guerriero went from averaging 4.1 points per game and 11 minutes in her sophomore year at Mt. St. Mary’s to 9.3 points and 19 minutes per game at Molloy the following season. She played in all 26 games and provided a tremendous boost for the offense, which she claims come from her mother who “was also a shooter”, that played high school basketball before playing collegiate softball.
Since making the switch from Division-I, Guerriero feels she has matured as a player. “You can’t even compare freshman year to now,” she said. “Playing at a Division-I against good competition made me a better player,” she added.
In her senior year, she has been the catalyst and go-to scorer for the Lions who currently have a conference record of 11-7 (14-11 overall). The team has already won more games than last year’s total of 10, and the most since 2009-10 season in which they compiled 22 wins. Guerriero is leading the team in scoring at 13.7 per game, 81 points more than the next scorer. During the past week, she was named Division-II Player of the Week and ECC Player of the Week for her performances. She has also set the school record for three-point shots made in a season with 85, while shooting an incredibly efficient 40.5 percent, better than most NBA shooters. That percentage, should it stand, would be tied for second-best in program history with Kathleen Murphy during the 1989-90 campaign.
With just a couple games remaining in the season she stated that her goal is to “just win.” Guerriero does not want senior day to be her last home game. The Lions are currently in solid position to make the playoffs but she is shooting for home-field advantage in the playoffs, which would be a tremendous boost for the Lions.
The 2013-14 season has been one of streaks for the Lions. They are currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak, but have also suffered a four-game losing streak in January against conference foes LIU Post, Queens College, University of Bridgeport and NYIT that briefly put the season in a state of flux. Fortunately, the team responded with back-to-back convincing victories over Bridgeport and Dowling. Now they will be forced to finish up the season with two difficult road games against 19-5 LIU Post and 16-9 NYIT.
Believe it or not, she stated that Molloy has the “best fans in Division-II” and even better than the atmosphere in Maryland. “You would think that being a Division-I program with a big gym would mean a great crowd, but the atmosphere is completely different here,” she added. “Everyone’s family comes to the games.”
Ultimately, her career will come to an end at Molloy. Whether it is in the regular season, conference playoffs or NCAA tournament, Guerriero will finish her brief career at Molloy as one of the most productive players in recent program history. She said that she will miss the fans and even the people that work for the team. She is truly grateful for her time spent with the Lions.
When life after college is upon her, Guerriero hopes to become an English teacher. She is double-majoring in English and Spanish right now, but “loves to work with kids.” Will it be easy for her to give up basketball? She doesn’t plan on giving it up.
“I definitely want to stay involved in the game,” she said. “I would like to either be an assistant coach or even training,” she added.
You can take a player out of basketball, but can’t take basketball out of the player.