The phrase “love at first sight” probably isn’t what most parents want to hear from their just-turned 18-year-old daughter, but in Brittney McNamara’s case it was no problem.
That’s because the Elyria Catholic senior was talking about Chestnut Hill College, where she will be continuing here education and basketball career in the fall.
McNamara, who broke the Lorain County record with eight 3-pointers in a game earlier this season against Lutheran West, said all it took was one visit to the Division II Catholic college in Northwestern Philadelphia to know it was the perfect place for her.
“When I was there I instantly fell in love with the school,” McNamara said.
“And coach (Laura) Pruitt is the nicest lady ever. I know that she’ll be more than a coach to me. She’ll be a mother-like figure and a friend. That’s how she is with all of her players.”
After consulting with her family, McNamara, who turned 18 on Christmas, made her choice official Saturday.
“Part of my decision was if I went to school further away it would help me to be more independent,” she said. “Now that I’m an adult, I felt it was time to make this decision.”
McNamara visited other schools closer to home but ultimately decided seven hours is really not that far away.
“I have four younger brothers and I’m really close with my family, but I think we can get through it using some of the new technology like Skype and Facetime to help us stay connected,” she said.
McNamara is averaging 14.8 points and 2.4 assists through the first 12 games this season. She has 38 3-pointers and needs to average less than two three-pointers per game the rest of the season to add the Lorain County single-season 3-point record to her single-game mark.
Elyria Catholic coach Eric Rothgery said McNamara has “nerves of steel” and is among the best shooters he’s ever coached.
“Yes, she takes a lot of shots, but it takes a bold, confident player to keep shooting,” Rothgery said. “The night she broke the record she was 1-of-9 shooting in the first half. Most players would be tentative coming back out on the court, but she had the confidence to keep shooting.”
With her college selection out of the way, McNamara can focus on her goal of getting the Panthers, who are 10-2, to the state tournament for the second time in three years.
“Going to the state Final Four is something I will remember for the rest of my life,” McNamara said. “Those girls on that team mean more to me then they will ever know. My No. 1 goal is to get back there again one more time in my senior year.”
McNamara, who will major in special education, is hoping to see extensive playing time as a freshman at Chestnut Hill and said Pruitt told her that she can envision her competing for Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Rookie of the Year honors next season.
Rothgery doesn’t doubt McNamara could do that. Not with the work ethic she’s always shown.
“Brittney made basketball a priority in her life and she has worked very hard to get to this point in her career,” he said. “We have a young team this year and for the younger girls to see how hard she works is really important.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.