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Flannery O’Connor hits 1,000-point milestone

Courtesy of Flannery O'Connor

By Adam Levine

Sports Editor

Flannery O’Connor, 22, earned a spot on the MASCAC All-Conference First Team for the 2022-23 season, according to the MASCAC website.

O’Connor said she has been on the FSU women’s basketball team since the 2019-2020 season and is a captain on the team.

In the past, O’Connor earned honors such as 2021-22 MASCAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, 2019-20 MASCAC Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Year, numerous MASCAC Player of the Week honors, and honors from during the 2021-22 season, according to the MASCAC website.

A member of the Rams’ Class of 2024, O’Connor is a health and wellness major with a minor in child and family studies.

O’Connor said she wants to become a high school health teacher and basketball coach. She said she has also thought about becoming an athletic trainer.

This season, O’Connor led the FSU women’s basketball team in points per game, averaging 17.8 ppg, according to the Rams Athletics website.

O’Connor also averaged 10.3 rebounds per game and recorded 22 blocks throughout the season, according to the Rams Athletics website.

O’Connor said she began playing basketball because of her older brothers and also her dad, who played basketball at Westfield State University. She said, “It's always been a big thing in the family.

“I kind of started just playing in the backyard with them,” O’Connor added.

O’Connor said she began playing organized basketball for her town’s travel basketball league in third grade.

O’Connor said she grew up in Amesbury, where her childhood best friend's dad was the travel basketball coach.

She said at the time she was a swimmer. “I was gonna go with the swimming route.”

O’Connor said her best friend’s dad called her dad and convinced her to try out for the team. “From there, it's history.”

O’Connor said she started on the varsity basketball team all four years at Amesbury High School. She said the team’s previous head coach had retired the year before she got there, and she had a new coach going into her freshman year.

O’Connor said, “We had a pretty good year my freshman year, but my sophomore year was actually the best year of all.”

She said her sophomore year Amesbury High School won the North Championship and made it to the semi-finals in the Massachusetts State Tournament. O’Connor said they played the game at TD Garden, home of the Boston Celtics.

O’Connor said they lost by four points, but the town came to the game in fan buses and it was a great experience.

O’Connor said, “That was probably one of the best experiences of my life.

“It was awesome. It was awesome,” added O’Connor.

O’Connor said she recalls scoring 22 points and recording 18 rebounds. She said, “It was definitely amazing to be able to do that on the Garden floor.”

O’Connor said she came to FSU because of the team. Head Women’s Basketball Coach Walter Paschal reached out to O’Connor and invited her to tour the campus, she added.

“I met the team and I was like, ‘All right, these girls are so fun. I can see myself being friends with all of them,’” she said. “They were really good at basketball. So I was like, ‘This feels like it would be a perfect fit.’”

O’Connor said her favorite part about the team is “just being able to play with your friends. I've gotten very close with my entire team.”

She said she lives with two of her teammates. “We could be beefing at home or something like that and then we go play basketball and we're like, ‘All right, we're cool. Everything's fine.’

“Just being able to experience something like that with your friends is incredible,” O’Connor added.

O’Connor said she sees herself as a leader on her team. “I like to score and grab some rebounds. I've been trying to get myself into passing more, trying to make opportunities for other people.

“I think I'm definitely a leader,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said her playstyle was different in high school. “In my freshman year of high school, I was more of a 3. I was kind of shooting the ball, although I really can't shoot that well.

“[My coaches] put me in the post and I think I had 28 points and then they were like, ‘Right, you're never coming out of here again,’” she added.

O’Connor said she scored her 1,000th point for FSU women’s basketball this season. She needed 127 points this season to reach the milestone.

“I was a little nervous that something would get in the way of having a good season, but I was excited. I was like, ‘If I can make it to preseason and just be healthy, then things will go our way,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said she scored her 1,000th point during their matchup against Smith College Dec. 3 that is now ranked fourth for NCAA Division III women’s basketball programs.

“We said that we wanted revenge on them because they took us out of the NCAA tournament the year before.

“They brought their A-game for sure,” O’Connor said.

She said she needed to score 15 points during the game to reach the 1000-point milestone.

“I just kept missing layups down the line. So every time I would put it up, the crowd would be like, ‘ahh’ and then they'd be like, ‘ohhh,’” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said she remembers scoring her 1,000th point. “Somebody was shooting a free throw for Smith and the ref said to me, ‘I hear you got two more,’ and I had no idea. I was like, ‘Oh, I do. OK.’ So I said, ‘You could help me out with that.’ And she was like, ‘No, no, you can do it yourself.’”

O’Connor said her teammate Gwendolyn Carpenter had a breakaway that led to her 1,000th point. “She dumped it off to me at the last second and I put it up and I got fouled, and it went in.

“The crowd went crazy. And I was like, ‘Oh, that must have been it,’” she added.

The Rams went on to beat Smith College, which was Smith’s only loss of the season, according to the Smith College athletics website.

O’Connor said her favorite part about FSU is the community. “I think that everybody here likes being at Framingham State and I think that's apparent when you go to watch other teams play.

“It's just a good sense of community and I really like that,” she added.

O’Connor said she has been inspired by many athletes growing up.

She said one of them was Ashley Waters, who was the previous women’s basketball scoring leader at Amesbury High School. “She was always a huge name to look up to.”

O’Connor said she also looked up to her brothers and her parents. “They were really big parts of getting me into the game and staying motivated.”

She said she also watched women’s basketball player Skyler Diggins, who played at Notre Dame. She said her favorite professional athlete growing up was now retired basketball player Shaquille O'Neal and is now professional basketball player Jayson Tatum.

O’Connor said she has one more season on the FSU women’s basketball team. “I definitely want to put my playing into a different realm.

“I think that this is the time where I can kind of make those things happen, just be a beast hopefully,” she added.



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