Never too late to dedicate

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Ashley Montecchio used to get on the Rosemont bus, and not even know where she was headed. Who she was playing didn’t really matter.

“We had a game that day, I would just go to the game,” Montecchio said. Montecchio, who now leads the nation in scoring averaging 25.2 points per game, had an intramural attitude about the intercollegiate athletic programs at Rosemont.

Montecchio did not go to Rosemont because she wanted to be part of a winning program. In fact, after graduating from Sun Valley, a team that won a lot, Montecchio was looking for a school where there was not a lot of pressure.

“Ashley came in and played field hockey. She has always played basketball, and she dabbled in softball,” said the women’s basketball coach, Andy McGovern. Even though she had not played softball in five years, Montecchio picked it back up. You could do that at Rosemont back then.

Four years ago, Rosemont’s president and board of trustees made the decision to go co-ed. 2013 will see the first male graduating class at Rosemont.

“As you turn from a single sex college to a co-ed college there are more opportunities. It opens it up a great deal. In our times, there is more interest in a school where girls would see guys and guys would want to see girls,” McGovern said

Going co-ed made recruiting a lot easier for McGovern. It allowed him to bring in a strong 2015 class, led by now sophomore Liz Coyne.

Montecchio, now a senior, led the team in scoring her freshman and sophomore seasons. But when she learned Coyne was headed to Rosemont, Montecchio thought her numbers were going to take a hit.

When Coyne showed up, all of sudden practices became a lot more intense. “The competitive juices were out there. Ashley wants to be the best in practice, Liz wants to be the best in practice, and by pushing each other they make each other better,” McGovern said.

Through the process, Montecchio and Coyne both had to step up their games. They challenged each other in practice, and that translated well in the games when they were together.

In the process of battling with each other, they have gained a mutual respect. “You have a competitive nature between both players, but out of that you have an admiration for what each player is accomplishing,” McGovern said.

Montecchio, a primarily outside player and Coyne, an inside force team up to be one of the most formidable pick and roll combinations in the nation.

“We pay three up two in, which allows a lot of pick and rolls. The defenses want to shut both of them down. But if you are going to try and cover one, the other is going to have scoring opportunities,” McGovern said.

In Rosemont’s 99-77 win over Gwynedd-Mercy, Montecchio scored 40 points for the second time this season, and Coyne dropped 28 points. Coyne ranks 11th in the nation in scoring, with 20.6 points per game.

“It’s really hard to guard two people who score over 20 points,” Coyne said. This year they split time doubling Ashley and me. It’s almost like they don’t know who to double.”

Last year Coyne was the rookie of the year in the Colonial States Athletic Conference. This past summer, Coyne dedicated to become the best athlete she could. Every day she ran three miles on the sea shore of the South Jersey coast. Her conditioning improved to the point where she decided to run cross country, and was Rosemont’s second best runner in the fall.

For now, Montecchio holds the school record for points, and rebounds. Each time she goes out on the floor she breaks her own records that she has established already. But there is part of Montecchio that wonders what could have happened if she had this same mindset for four years.

“I feel like Liz is going to score 2,000 points and I could have done that. But I’ll be just as happy to hand the basketball over to Liz when she breaks my record next year, because she deserves it, Montecchio said.

Montecchio does not know where sports will take her in the future, as the lone senior she is confident in her role in the present. “I think this program is going places, and while I’m here I want to give the girls everything that I can,” Montecchio said.

Rosemont’s next win, their 14th, will be the most wins in school history. “We don’t want to stop there. We want to see how far we can go. We don’t look ahead. We play Cedar Crest this Saturday. You get in trouble when you look past people,” McGovern said.

Women’s Top 25

No. 8 Montclair State is still undefeated. The Red Hawks are 20-0 overall and continue to move up the rankings. They already have surpassed their total numbers of wins from last season (19). Montclair defeated Ramapo last night by a score of 79-56. Shallette Brown led the team with 18 points. ... No. 13 Catholic improved to 18-1 overall and 8-1 in the Landmark Conference with a 77-74 win over Juniata. Jill Woerner scored 18 in the win. Their lone loss came Jan. 12 at Moravian, when they lost by three. ... No. 11 Messiah is 17-2 overall and 12-1 in the Middle Atlantic Commonwealth Conference. They defeated Lycoming by a score of 58-32 yesterday to extend their win streak to 6. Dori Gyori scored a game high 13. ... No. 21 Lebanon Valley improved to 17-3 overall and 11-2 in the Middle Atlantic Commonwealth Conference with a 77-53 win over Hood. Dyanna Prater scored 23 points in the win.

Men’s Top 25

No. 11 Catholic is 17-2 overall and 8-1 in the Landmark Conference. The Cardinals are in the midst of a 6 game winning streak after decisive wins over Moravian, Susquehanna, Scranton, Goucher, Merchant Marine, and Juniata. ...No. 13 Ramapo defeated Montclair State 75-58 yesterday to improve 19-2 overall and 13-1 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. Stephon Treadwell led the team with 21 points. ...No. 14 St. Mary’s (Md.) improved to 19-2 overall and 7-1 in the Capital Athletic Conference with a 74-63 win over Wesley. Devin Spencer led the Seahawks with 25 points. 

Ryan Scott

Ryan Scott is a long-time D-III basketball supporter and former player currently residing in Middletown, Del., where he serves as a work-at-home dad, doing freelance writing and editing projects. He has written for multiple publications across a wide spectrum of topics. Ryan is a graduate of Eastern Nazarene College and is immensely happy this is no longer a laugh line among the D-III basketball community.
2013-14 columnist: Rob Knox
2012-13 columnist: Pete Barrett
2011-12 columnist: Brian Lester