FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s Sabrina Siciliano has bounced basketballs, shot jumpers and grabbed rebounds for the past 14 winters. Now, the senior at Assumption College is counting down the final games to a sensational playing career that began in third grade.
“It’s crazy,’’ Siciliano said in a telephone interview from Worcester, Mass. “I can’t believe that it’s almost at the end.”
Siciliano scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds Saturday in a 77-68 win against Adelphi for the Hounds, who are tied for third in the Northeast-10. The league generally is recognized as one of the best in the nation in Division II.
The Fairfield Warde grad has been a big part of Assumption’s success during her career. She played in 28 games as a freshman, when the Hounds made the NCAA Tournament. She made 26 starts and played in all 30 games as a sophomore and led the conference in steals. She has continued to blossom, averaging 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds as a junior and 11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds this year. She had 20 points (her career-high is 22) in a win versus Goldey-Beacom in November. Assumption is 17-6.
“Experience is a big part of why I’m scoring more this year,’’ said Siciliano, who has started 74 games the last three years. “We graduated a strong post player from last year, and I had to fill that spot. Coach (Kerry Phayre) took me aside and said I was one of the go-to players, that I had to be a bigger scoring presence to make the team better. I knew I was going to have a bigger role. Being a senior, I knew I had to be a leader on the court and a role model for younger players.”
Siciliano went to Assumption after a standout career at Warde. She was a three-time all-league first team choice for the Mustangs, and helped them win the league championship in 2009. One of her teammates was Daphne Elliott, who has been a consistent starter at the University of Hartford.
“Coming to Assumption was a culture shock,’’ Siciliano said. “The level of play from high school to college is so different. It was a big wakeup call for me. I just put my head down and went with it. Coming from Warde and playing AAU I think prepared me for the toughness of college basketball. I stayed focused and when I was the sixth man during my freshman year, I knew that I wanted to work my way into the starting lineup.”
Siciliano also was a standout soccer player and even made the Olympic Development Program. Her high school and AAU coach, Dave Danko, said she should consider playing basketball in college. “That’s when I thought maybe I can go pretty far with this,’’ Siciliano said.
Siciliano’s ride is nearing the end. The Hounds have three regular season games remaining. After that is the NE-10 Tournament, and Siciliano is hopeful the team can get back for one more shot at the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s bittersweet,’’ Siciliano said. “It has been a long road of conditioning, lifting, practicing and playing. I don’t think people realize what you have to do. At the end of the day, that doesn’t matter when you get a chance to play the sport you love. I’m going to miss the team, my coaches, everything about it. Hopefully, we can get back to the NCAA Tournament. We’re not done yet.”