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- Former Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey player Connor Clifton signs with the Boston Bruins
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Senior leads with a roar
Last year’s female athlete of the year, Ashlee Kelly, is proving that she deserves the title of one of the most talented athletes at Quinnipiac. Staff and players have always seen Ashlee, a member of the women’s basketball team, as a promising athlete.
Kelly, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, “was born with a God given talent. She is truly blessed,” said senior vice president athletic director Bill Monroe. Kelly has proven this since she first stepped onto Burt Kahn court.
Coming into Quinnipiac her freshmen year, Ashlee ranked second on her team in rebounds and averaged 10.3 points per game. “I have seen Ashlee improve every game and every year here.
She only seems to get better,” said Monroe. Kelly, now in her senior season, has allowed herself to improve by keeping self-motivated. Knowing that it is her last season to make an impact on her collegiate career, Kelly has put up impressive numbers yet again.
Currently leading her team with 318 points and averaging 17.7 points a game. In one of Kelly’s most memorable games this season, she posted 30 points and 24 rebounds. The 24 boards were the second most in the northeast conference.
Attributing Kelly’s steady success and play, teammates say her ability to dominate on both ends of the court is what makes her unstoppable.
“This girl is an animal,” said teammate Tara McCaig. “She is one of the most competitive people I know.”
Kelly credits her brother with her competitive streak. Donnie Kelly, who plays in the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball organization, always pushed his sister to become better and stronger. “I always wanted to beat him just to say I was better,” she recalled from her childhood.
Perhaps her competitiveness is what led Ashlee to receiving the NEC player of the week honor eight times during her collegiate basketball career, the most recent being Jan. 19.
A week where she averaged 23.7 points and led the bobcats to a 2-1 record. She shows her humbleness by praising that it was her team’s strong play that helped her to win the award.
With her large six-foot frame, Ashlee is seen as the most dominating player on her team. When asking a fan what they thought of Ashlee after a game, the words “best and strongest player on the court” spewed out.
With a basketball team full of talented women, it is Ashlee’s “tenacity and great offense that sets her out from the rest,” said teammate Charmaine Steele.
Although her athletic character may come off very domineering, Ashlee is more of a quiet person. The team knows her as a silent leader but has seen her become more vocal over the years. Kelly feels that her role as a leader is to keep building her team’s confidence.
“Our team really peaked in December and January and I keep trying to let the girls know that if we keep playing like that we could go all the way,” Kelly said.
While most girls on the team have years left to win the NEC Championship, this is Kelly’s final chance at ultimate victory.
Achieving such a goal as a championship would be the perfect ending to her basketball career in university. With a record of 12-7 so far this season, the Bobcats have to keep fighting all the way to the end.
Next year, Kelly is hoping to either coach or play overseas, possibly in Australia. Only time will tell if Quinnipiac’s star will one day be playing with the pros.