Though she has only been a student at the college for one month, sophomore guard Mary Kate Tierney has already become a valuable asset to the women’s basketball team.
Tierney transferred to the college from Division I Bryant University at the end of last semester and has filled a spot in the lineup after senior guard Jackie Shinnall suffered a wrist injury.
Head Coach Dan Raymond originally recruited Tierney to play for the Bombers two years ago when she was a senior at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Rochester, N.Y. Raymond said her deft shooting touch, passing skills, high level of passion and 5-foot-10 height makes her a lethal guard in the Empire 8 Conference.
“She’s a very skilled player, and her size at the guard position enables her to do things that nobody else on our team could do,” Raymond said. “Some of her passes are just phenomenal, and she’s able to see over some of the players that are defending her.”
Though Tierney initially chose to play basketball at Bryant instead — where she averaged a shooting percentage of 46 percent in 12 appearances — she said she had a change of heart this past fall because she wanted to be closer to her hometown of Rochester and play more meaningful minutes on a close-knit squad.
“I wasn’t playing a whole lot at Bryant, and I wanted to be somewhere that I could contribute and mean more to the team,” she said. “Team atmosphere is really important to me because if you don’t enjoy the team itself, it’s just not going to be a good time for you.”
After clearing the necessary paperwork to comply with NCAA regulations, she made her first appearance as a Bomber in a game against St. John Fisher College on Jan. 6. Tierney made an immediate impact on the court, scoring seven points and adding five rebounds in just 11 minutes of play.
Freshman forward Francesca Cotrupe said Tierney made quick strides both on the team and at the college because of her outgoing and talkative nature.
“During practices she cheers us on just like she’s been on the team for the entire year,” Cotrupe said. “She’s always there to listen and to talk to, and I just feel like she’s a genuinely good person.”
Tierney appeared in seven games with the South Hill squad before classes resumed Jan. 23. She said she has benefitted from the college’s mindset that puts academics before athletics.
“At Bryant we had to have all of our classes done by 1 o’clock so you would have the whole afternoon free for basketball,” Tierney said. “Here at Ithaca they work around your schedule a lot more.”
While she has been on the South Hill for only one month, Tierney said she already feels right at home.
“The team has been great, the school has been great, and I’m glad I transferred here when I did to a team full of special, high-caliber players,” she said.