By Laura Amato
It was difficult not to be disappointed.
Former Molloy star Aryn McClure doesn’t like losing. She never has and losing on the national stage was something she didn’t particularly enjoy.
But while the Quinnipiac sophomore didn’t relish the ending, McClure appreciated the road there more than she can put into words. It was a historic run, a Cinderella-esque story for the Bobcats and a season McClure won’t soon forget. It’s also one she’s anxious to repeat.
“We got blown out by South Carolina and we didn’t want to go out that way, but it was a great season,” McClure said. “We’ve been here now, so we’re a little more experienced, especially since we’re a young team. This will just give us more fuel next year to go farther in the tournament.”
Quinnipiac’s historic run this season was the payoff in a long and winding basketball road for McClure. The former MAAC Rookie of the Year grew up in Springfield Gardens and she’s the first to admit that Quinnipiac is a world away from Queens.
It’s also exactly what she always wanted.
McClure wanted the stereotypical college experience – green grass and trees and a campus – and while she had other offers from a handful of schools, the one-time Stanners star knew she’d found a home at Quinnipiac as soon as she walked through the gates.
“I always imagined, growing up, you’d sit on the quad and have a campus and the coaching staff here was incredible,” McClure said. “This is a place where I felt like I could grow, not just as a basketball player, but as a person for the next four years.”
McClure’s growth this season was obvious every time she stepped on the court. She averaged 9.1 points per game and saw action in all 36 contests, racking up a team-high 25.8 minutes on the court.
As the season progressed – and Quinnipiac kept winning – McClure’s determination only grew and she continued to fine-tune her game.
“I think each year that you go through a season, your point of view kind of changes and your mindset changes,” she said. “I always just focus on my true self, try not to switch up anything despite the buzz around us. And I feel like our team was the same. That’s just the beauty of our program.”
The Bobcats have dominated the MAAC for years, but the squad still stunned the basketball-watching world with wins over Marquette and Miami in the NCAA Tournament. The run didn’t surprise McClure, however. It simply made her proud.
“It’s a winning culture and that helped us,” McClure said. “We put ourselves on a new platform, to get known nationally and it put us on the map. People will know our name and there’s so much more to come for us as a program and a team.”
McClure’s still proud of her team and everything it accomplished, but she hates losing and is still not content with the way the season ended. That doesn’t mean she’s allowed her feelings to linger for too long. Instead, McClure has turned that disappointment into focus and work and she’s more than ready for another run next season.
“It’s a new goal next year,” McClure said. “This is a huge accomplishment, but it’s all about what you do in the moment. Next year this won’t really matter anymore if we don’t have a successful season.”