2005-02-25 / Sports

Droesch Sad About Closing Out College Career

By Elio Velez

Saturday night at the Conte Forum will be an emotional one for Clare Droesch. When she steps on the court for Senior Night (vs. UCONN, ESPN2, 7 p.m.), it will be the end of a four year career on her home floor in front of friends and family.

“It came too fast. It hasn’t hit me yet that this is my last home game,” says Droesch.

For Droesch, her senior year has been already been full of emotion. Prior the start of the 2004-2005 campaign, she was named co-captain along with her senior teammate, Jessalyn Deveny. Off to a great start at 14-4 in the Big East, the Eagles were at the top of the standings.

Clare Droesch shoots a jumper against Big East rival Georgetown earlier this season. Clare Droesch shoots a jumper against Big East rival Georgetown earlier this season. On February 2, the season changed in many ways for Clare.

Deveny, the team’s leading scorer, crumpled to the floor in a 64-57 loss against Notre Dame. She suffered a torn Achilles in her right foot and was lost for the rest of the season. Droesch says the whole team was affected by her loss.

“It hurt me emotionally. She’s my teammate, roommate and good friend for four years. It’s been hard to not have her on the floor with me,” Droesch says.

Injuries have been a concern as well. A lingering heel problem has been bothering her since 2003 and it will most likely need surgery at the end of the season. Though on constant medication for her ailing foot, Droesch says it won’t sideline her from playing the rest of the season.

The team has won three and lost four since Deveny’s injury. They may possibly face off against top ranked teams such as Rutgers and Notre Dame in the Big East Tournament. Droesch says that a team effort will be needed to pick up the slack.

“Most definitely on the court, I know I have to step up my game. Scoring wise I’ll have to do a little more, play more minutes and on the floor, be a leader,” Droesch says.

“It’s just not about me, it’s about the team. I think the post (players) and the guards have to step up their scoring.”

If they want to finish off the season on a strong note, they will have to win at resurgent St. John’s in Jamaica on Tuesday (7 p.m.). It will be a homecoming for Droesch already knows the Rockaway contingent will show.

“I’m hearing it will be a big crowd. Bugsy (Goldberg) is a close friend of the family and I consider him like an uncle. He is asking everyone to attend. I love it that every second that I can represent Rockaway,” says Droesch.

College basketball players from the Rockaways will also participate in March Madness:

Rhashon Clark- Iowa State

A nationwide audience on ABC television saw the upset of the year as Iowa State pulled off a shocking 63-61 win over then #2 seeded Kansas last Saturday. The freshman played 35 minutes and grabbed 10 rebounds against Kansas in a much needed Big 12 victory.

Shooting guard Curtis Stinson, the Bronx native, scored 29 points and the game winning layup with 5.1 seconds left in OT. The Cyclones won their seventh straight game overall with the win. Their record is 15-8 as of presstime. Iowa State has turned around their season after a terrible 0-5 start in the conference. Head coach Wayne Morgan has installed Clark into the starting lineup for his energy and his improvement on the defensive boards.

Wendell Gibson- Hofstra

Gibson, a senior, will be playing his final regular season home game Saturday against George Mason. Hofstra will honor the Far Rockaway native, along with Mike Radziejewski and Woody Souffrant for Senior Day starting at 4 p.m.

Gibson has worked hard to return to the floor. A season ending knee injury forced him to miss the last half of the 2003-2004 season and the first half of the 2004-2005 campaign. He has provided a lift to the Pride late in the season with his rebounding and defensive intensity. They have won five straight games to improve to 19-7 and 11-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Janelle McManus- Fairfield

The Fairfield Stags are starting to put the pieces together after a less than stellar start to the season. As of press time, the Stags have won three of four games and six of the last nine games. At 8-8 in the conference, Fairfield has risen to fifth place. It is better than residing in the cellar, which they did for most of January. McManus has risen to eighth overall in scoring in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with 13.6 points per game. The MAAC Tournament on March 3 will be the senior’s last chance to enter the NCAA Tournament.

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