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O'Connor Set For MAAC Attack
Jay Mumford

There isn’t much of an answer for Kellenberg forward Emma O’Connor when she’s in the paint, and if she was in the mood to anchor the interior in an act of total dominance, she’d have carte blanche to do so.

“I want her to be more selfish with the ball”, said Kellenberg Head Coach Megan Moran. “But she gets us going no matter what, and when we set up plays through her, she does a good job.” When you’re a powerful 5’11 forward with some post moves to boot, its understandable for a coach to want you to hold down the middle, and the Marist-bound senior understands Coach Moran’s point.

“Coach says I fade to the perimeter a little too much, but I know I’m at my most powerful when I’m inside”, O’Connor said. “I’m not sure what position I’ll be playing at Marist yet, so I’ve been working hard on improving everything.” Mixing it up between the paint and the perimeter has helped the Lynbrook native develop her outside shot and involve her teammates (with 4 assists per game), in case she has to vacate the center position at the next level. O’Connor has also taken summer strides to prepare for her career at Marist (which she decided upon after shuffling through letters from St. John’s and her future MAAC rivals Fairfield and Manhattan). “I played for LI Lightning and NYC Heat last summer, which helped me expand on my game”, she said. “But this spring, I’m really going to start lifting weights and focusing on my conditioning, strength and quickness.” Regardless of how she fits into the Marist puzzle, Coach Moran is confident that her senior leader will make key contributions as a Red Fox.

“Her ability to get to the hole and her defense”, said Coach Moran of O‘Connor‘s keys to success at the next level. “Particularly her help defense and her ability to block shots. She’s also really improved her outside shot.”

But the aforementioned thoughts begin in April, and some unfinished business involving O’Connor and her fellow Firebirds supersedes her relocation to Poughkeepsie. The daunting task of leading the defending Federation Champs back to the big dance is something that will help O’Connor further develop something that hours of training can’t…leadership. The forward’s impressive stat line of 16.2 points, 4 blocks and about 12 rebounds per game is instrumental in the Firebirds chances at a repeat post-season, but being a leader is even more so.

“We only returned four girls this year, we lost a lot of good role players from last year’s team”, O’Connor said. “Me and (fellow senior) Katie Cunningham have to step up a lot more and handle a lot. The team is coming together well, but we have to play the whole game and not let it slip away.”


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