PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Great play from the point guard position can make all the difference in the game of basketball.
For proof, look no further than the 76ers, who prior to the arrival of Ish Smith were 1-30 and a national joke. Since he was acquired and plugged into the starting line-up, the Sixers have suddenly become an NBA team capable of giving everyone a run for their money, if not grabbing a victory on any given night.
Out in Chester, fans of the Division III Widener University women’s basketball team don’t need any explanation about the power of great point guard play because they’ve had it for years with senior Ally Ferrucci.
A Vineland, New Jersey native, Ferrucci is the piston that makes the 12-7 Pride engine run. She can score, pouring in 9.2 points a night, but it is the way she quarterbacks the team on the floor that makes her really special. Ferrucci is averaging 6.9 assists a game this season and that has her ranked in the top ten nationally. Last week, she broke the Pride program record for career assists, she now has 492. These are impressive rankings and records, but Ferrucci says they don’t really interest her that much.
“I never even look at all that stuff,” Ferrucci tells KYW Newsradio. “That’s all my teammates. Literally I would not have any of that if it wasn’t for them. So I just thank them for that and I’m just focused on winning right now.”
Listen to the entire interview with Widener’s Ally Ferrucci:
You don’t have to watch Ferrucci play for long to realize how much she relishes being out on the court. But surprisingly, she almost didn’t even give college basketball a try. As she wound down her career at Sacred Heart High School, the idea of playing at the next level wasn’t really on her radar.
“I honestly didn’t want to play basketball (in college) at first,” Ferrucci says.
But Widener head coach Alisa Kintner saw the talent in the 5’4″ guard and knew she had to convince her to come to Chester and join the team.
“She was too good to let her go,” Kintner tells KYW Newsradio. “Came in here as a freshman, still was really unsure, I felt, if she wanted to play, and then all of a sudden the love for the game just exploded in her. She realized she could play here. She realized she could play at this level and be successful.”
Listen to the entire interview with Widener’s Alisa Kintner:
Ferrucci says Widener really was just a perfect fit.
“I came here,” Ferrucci says, “the girls were great and my love for basketball just kind of came back in the recruiting process and once I got here I fell in love with the game all over again and (I’m) in love with it now more than ever.”
Now Coach Kintner knows a thing or two about great point guard play because she was one herself. During her college career up in Doylestown at Division III Delaware Valley University, she twice led the nation in assists. She talks about just how much trust she has in Ferrucci on the floor.
“I don’t call a play,” Kintner says. “I don’t call one play. Ally runs my show. She looks at me if she’s unsure or we should do something. But when she’s been playing for me for 40 minutes for five years (Ferrucci was limited to just four games during the 2013-14 season due to an injury and granted a medical hardship for an extra year of eligibility), she knows the play before I do. It makes my job a lot easier, to coach four people instead of five while they’re out there.”
Ferrucci’s career is winding down. Widener has six regular season games remaining. There is also the very real possibility of postseason play for the Pride, but regardless of how long the season extends for Widener, Ferrucci knows she only has so many opportunities remaining to put on the Widener uniform.
“I feel like that’s something that goes through every senior’s mind,” Ferrucci says. “I try not to think about it too much because I don’t want to think about being done basketball. I mean it definitely puts things into perspective and makes you work a lot harder and just try and carry that down to the whole team.”
Kintner says players like Ferrucci truly are special.
“She leaves it all out on the floor,” Kintner says. “Every time. I’m going to really miss her next year.”