HAVING departed the distinct smell of Parochial Hall for the hardwood of TD Bank Sports Center in Connecticut, Cork’s Edel Thornton is settling into her new home.
From the hotbed of basketball on the northside of the city, Thornton is making a name for herself in this her first season with Quinnipiac University.
Seán and Christine Thornton’s only daughter followed her basketball scholarship dream to the States this summer. After being scouted by a number of universities, the 5’11” former Irish underage star chose the college nestled in Hamden to progress her playing career, as well as majoring in psychology.
EDEL TAKES COLLEGE BASKETBALL BY STORM
Last week, Brunell’s top scorer in the 2014/2015 SuperLeague season played her part in a terrific win for Quinnipiac over Temple, registering eight points and operating on the court for 25 minutes – which is unusual for freshman students, but head coach Tricia Fabbri has been hugely impressed by Thornton’s competitive streak since her arrival Stateside.
The two-point win (58-56) against Temple secured a three-game winning streak for Fabbri’s side, and the Bobcats have made the ideal start to their season as they get ready for Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference battles.
“Temple are in a higher conference than us and our coaches made it clear it would be one of the toughest tasks we would face on our non-conference schedule,” said Thornton.
“They were ultra athletic, but our focus was to take away their break and try limit their top scorers which we executed perfectly. Their top scorer averaged 26 points per game and we held her to 13, which was super for us,” added the Gurranabraher native.
Thornton started the game well scoring a lay-up back-door, before hitting a three and playing some excellent defence which saw her remain on the court much longer than expected for a freshman.
A homebird at heart, Thornton is missing her parents and three brothers, but there’s no question she’s rising to the challenge away from the much more familiar timber and netting in Parochial Hall, just a five-minute walk from her home.
TRAINING LIKE A PRO WITH THE BOBCATS
“Honestly, I’m taking everyday as it comes and I’m trying to get better for myself, and for the team, but I love it.
“Each day we have a new task and a new team to focus on so we never settle. The game doesn’t look it, but it’s a lot faster than at home, and the transition from offence to defense is crazy quick, but that’s the style of play I like so I’m positive I chose the right school and program.”
“Our training schedule, now that we’re in-season, usually would consist of maybe one day off a week, depending on our games, but I’m definitely playing a lot more basketball than I did at home. It’s tough on the body at times but that’s only when you think about it. Our trainer, Becky, is fantastic at making sure no injuries arise and our strength and conditioning coach, Coach B, is the best I think any college could have.
“Away from the court then, I’m studying psychology and I’m hoping to get a degree in the area surrounding children and adolescents. It is hard as it’s all new, but I find it interesting and enjoyable at the same time,” added Thornton.
As to working under Coach Tricia Fabbri, Thornton is lucky. She’s a woman who knows the ropes having manned the sidelines for the Bobcats for more twenty years, and last year guided Quinnipiac to a fourth straight 20-win season, a third straight appearance in the conference championship, and also led them to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the university’s history.
Speaking of Thornton’s opening few weeks as a Bobcat, Fabbri praised the 19-year-old’s hunger and work ethic to succeed on the court.
“We fell in love with Edel at our camp this past summer as one of her defining qualities is her elite competitiveness.
“Her fierceness and drive both in games and practice is something you cannot teach. Edel fits our mold perfectly as a player who can play multiple positions. We aren’t going to pigeon-hole her into one spot on the floor. She makes shots and makes plays for others on her drives,” said coach Fabbri.
Last Friday, Thornton played her part in history when Quinnipiac took on the notorious Georgetown for the first time in the university’s history, but unfortunately they lost 68-80 in the opening round of the TD Bank Classic, before defeating Vermont (77-65), a game in which Thornton scored nine points in the form of three three-pointers, playing 17 minutes.
After six non-conference games and a 4-2 record to start the 2015-16 season, Quinnipiac and Thornton now commence their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) campaign with a huge matchup away from home against Marist on Thursday night (7pm local time).
Fortunately, for followers of Thornton’s career across the pond, of which there are many, the game will be streamed on the conference’s website, as well as the host college Marist broadcasting audio coverage of the game.
It’s a long way from home for the former Brunell star, but for now Edel Thornton is more than settling into her new digs. A great attitude however can take you great places, and for Thornton, that’s certainly the case.