Volume 76, Number 43 | March 21 - 27, 2007

Sports

Photo by Vincent Dusovik

The N.Y.U. women’s basketball team’s three senior co-captions also got points for style, as this photo from a media guide shows. From left, Stephanie Ryba and Karen Bachman, who are both 6 feet tall, and Adrienne Rochetti, who is 5 feet 1 inch.

Lady hoopsters’ magical run rims out at Final Four

By Judith Stiles

She is the queen of three-pointers. Yet college basketball star Adrienne Rochetti only stands a mighty 5 feet 1 inch tall on New York University’s Division III women’s basketball team. As an extremely effective point guard, co-captain Rochetti was instrumental in leading her team to the N.C.A.A. Division III Final Four last weekend at Blake Arena at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., only for N.Y.U. to suffer a painful loss to their nemesis, Washington University of St. Louis.

The final score was 72-53 in favor of Wash. U, sending the Violets to a consolation game against University of Mary Washington. In the wound-licking phase after a crushing blow like this, athletes and coaches tend to run through a litany of self-criticism, followed by praise for moments of greatness in the game. One of those shining moments belonged to Rochetti, one of whose trademark three-pointers pulled N.Y.U. closer to Wash. U., which only led 34-31 with 17 minutes to go in the second half.

“It just wasn’t our day today. Wash. played great, we played just O.K.,” said Janice Quinn, N.Y.U.’s head coach, after the loss. After a philosophical pause, she added, “After we had that little stretch when Wash. came back and countered, I think we got jumpy and rushed some of our shots.”

Star sophomore Jessica McEntee was repeatedly thwarted by the Bears’ defense, finishing with nine points and seven rebounds, while she had averaged 17.3 points and 12.7 rebounds in the regular season.

In the consolation game against Mary Washington, the Violets started out with high hopes for taking third place when they took the lead, 10-6, in the opening four minutes. Co-captain and All-Tournament Team selection Stephanie Ryba scored 19 points, while other senior co-captains Karen Bachman and Rochetti each netted 10 points. This was their last game wearing their beloved N.Y.U. uniforms.

After the Eagles pulled ahead in the first half, another three-pointer by Rochetti closed the gap to 16-14. But by the time the second half rolled around, the Violets trailed 33-25. N.Y.U. was behind most of the second half by double digits. However, after playing their hearts out, with one minute and 19 seconds remaining, Ryba netted a clutch three-pointer, pulling the Violets to within four points, at 67-63. But that was as close as they got, as the final score was 74-63, leaving the Violets in fourth place.

In the end, the Violets could hold their heads high with a season record of 27-3, the second most victories of any team in the N.Y.U. women’s basketball program history. Their season saw an exciting 11-game winning streak. They were also just the third N.Y.U. women’s hoops team ever to reach the Division III Final Four.

Rochetti has plenty to be proud of, too, as she was selected M.V.P. of the N.Y.U. Classic tournament and started 24 out of 25 games. She also earned Honorable Mention All-University Athletic Association. She is known as a hard-driving, aggressive playmaker who zips around the court, never running out of energy. She attributes her spirited style of play to her father and childhood coach, Albert Rochetti, who was thrilled when she fell in love with basketball in first grade.

“He was always very positive with me,” said Rochetti. She added with pride, “My dad always said, ‘You can do this, but because of your size you are going to have to work 10 times harder than anyone else.’”

An only child from Vineland, N.J., Rochetti spent her youth shooting hoops in the driveway until 11 o’clock at night.

“My mother used to laugh when in the hot Jersey summers, while everyone else was in the pool, I was on the asphalt shooting,” recalled Rochetti. Although mom Donna Rochetti never played basketball, she was a cheerleader and passed on many intangibles to her daughter, such as keeping a positive mental approach to competition and good sportsmanship, according to young Rochetti.

These tools have certainly come in handy with the loss to Wash. U. Days after the defeat, there is still a melancholy cloud in the air of the N.Y.U. Coles Sports Center. However, not so much with Rochetti. She is already looking toward graduating in May with a B.S. in sports management, possibly becoming a coach herself, and continuing her part-time work at the WNBA.

“This year and the journey leading up to the end of the season was an awesome experience and I will cherish it for the rest of my life,” said Rochetti.


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