As the Ithaca College women’s basketball team wrapped up a successful 2022–23 regular season, senior forward Emily Dorn was named Liberty League Player of the Year in addition to earning a spot on the All-Liberty League First Team.
Dorn is admired as a leader and mentor on the team. She is ranked No. 8 in scoring in the Liberty League with 281 points this season, over 100 points higher than her 2021–22 season. She started in 24 out of the 26 games she played and averaged 10.8 points per game, a huge increase from her first season in 2019–20 where she averaged 2.1 points per game. The Bombers ended their regular season as the No. 1 seed in the Liberty League playoffs and had a regular season record of 22–3.
On March 4, the team’s 2022–23 season came to an end when it faced Marietta College in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Bombers fought until the final buzzer but were unable to come away with a win. Dorn contributed 8 points to the final score of 44–42.
Managing editor Eleanor Kay spoke with Dorn about her final game and final season on the team.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Eleanor Kay: Can you describe a little bit about your feelings going into the game against Marietta College?
Emily Dorn: I was feeling very confident. I think I started to have some feelings from last year when we lost in the round of 32 on that buzzer-beater; that definitely haunted me. I really felt confident that we could pull away and advance to the Sweet 16. The whole team was on board with it, everyone felt confident. I think, even in like the first three quarters, I was like, ‘OK, we got this, we got a stable lead.’ Everything changed in the fourth quarter, but I was feeling confident throughout the game.
EK: What was it like to be able to play in the Ben Light Gymnasium for such an important game?
ED: After the Liberty League Championship when we lost, it hurt a lot and I kind of realized that it could have been my last game in Ben Light. I almost feel like I didn’t enjoy it as much. … Partly because we lost, but I feel like I just didn’t let it sink in, and so when we got that bid that we were hosting, it almost gave me peace. … It kind of just helped me enjoy the moment more, knowing that I have another opportunity to play in Ben Light.
EK: How has it felt for you to have been part of such an amazing team for your final year on the court?
ED: I feel very grateful that I’ve had a great four years here on a very successful team every single year. This year was definitely different, because not only did I have a different role on the court, but I was also a primary leader on the team. So it’s kind of like balancing that and mentoring the younger girls because I know how it feels at the end of the season when you’re so tired like we’ve been going for months, but it’s also the best part of the season.
EK: As a senior this year, how do you think you’ve seen yourself change from that first-year position to now when it comes to taking on that leadership and mentorship role?
ED: My confidence has changed. I was a very successful basketball player coming out of high school, I was one of the top in the league, so it was definitely a change when I got here as a [first-year student] and didn’t really play. I saw how our seniors, when I was a [first-year student], mentored me and encouraged me. … Over the years I became more confident. I improved my game, and my leadership skills definitely grew in a great way. … It’s really nice to see where I came from and where I am now.
EK: Season awards were announced recently and you were named Liberty League Player of the Year. Can you describe the emotions you felt when you found this out?
ED: When I found out, I was just kind of in shock because I don’t really focus on my stats or anything. I used to care about that in high school because it would help me for college, but now I just have the mentality like, ‘Give it your all every game. Whatever the stats are, the stats are.’ Finding that out was definitely really surprising and nice just because I feel like I worked so hard over my four years and it took a while to see the floor. So just seeing all that work paid off was really nice. That’s a nice way to end my season.