As McDaniel’s women’s basketball continues to create its identity this season, the Green Terror seem to have discovered their post presence for 2020 and beyond.
Mallory Conroy is finding her place in McDaniel’s lineup, and the 5-foot-11 freshman forward is holding her own in her first Centennial Conference experience.
The Marriotts Ridge High School graduate found a spot in first-year coach Christin Gowan’s starting lineup in the season opener and has been there since. Conroy has posted double-digit points in six games this winter, and she’s 12th in the conference in scoring at 12.6 points per game.
Conroy led the Terror with 21 points Saturday against Haverford, a career high, to go along with four rebounds and three assists. The Fords prevailed in overtime, but they had to deal with Conroy for most of the contest. She had 11 points in the second quarter and sank five of six field-goal attempts.
And when Conroy found her groove, her Terror teammates got in line.
“Mallory has been awesome for us, and she’s been this good all along,” Gowan said. “Really, we couldn’t get her the ball. We’ve really hammered that in at practice and being able to feed the post, because that just opens up everybody else.”
Conroy is averaging 5.8 rebounds and shooting 45.9% from the field, and Gowan said she’s starting to become more comfortable with an array of offensive moves. Her size and strength are evident around the glass, but Conroy seems just as adept with short-range jump shots and even some perimeter presence.
She played in 24 games last season at Marriotts Ridge and averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds, and helped the Mustangs to a playoff win before switching from high school to college.
“I feel like it’s going pretty well,” Conroy said about her first year at McDaniel. “My team is helping me through the whole thing. It’s really awesome having them have so much confidence in me.”
Conroy posted her first collegiate double-double in McDaniel’s 50-44 win over Stockton on Jan. 2. The forward scored 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the victory. On Saturday against Haverford, Conroy took a season-high 17 shots and connected on nine field goals, also a season best.
She created the spark McDaniel used to build a nine-point lead in the third quarter against the Fords, who overcame the deficit and won 54-47 in OT. But Conroy did her best to lead the Green Terror against one of the top teams in the Centennial.
“I’ve noticed that when we need energy, if one person just gets that energy everyone will get it,” said Conroy, who showed some emotion after drawing a foul on a made basket during the second quarter that got her teammates excited. “Everyone will feed off of it.”
Gowan’s rotation also includes freshmen guards Natalie Mehl and Josey Klingenberg (Manchester Valley), and sophomore forward Meggie Burgess, among others. McDaniel’s youth is learning on the job, and despite a slow start to the season (3-6, 0-5 Centennial) Gowan said her group is poised to get better and jell.
Perhaps with Conroy as its building block.
“She has been this good all along. Now that people are seeing it and believing it, and now she’s starting to believe it,” Gowan said. “She knew it all along, but now she’s being a little bit more vocal, saying, ‘Hey, give me the ball, I want it.’ In my mind, she’s more than reliable. She’s one of the top post players in the conference. I’m excited to see her develop and us really get her the ball even more.”