Senior Anna McTamney surpassed the 1,000-point milestone. It was part of an emotional week for the PW standout.
To say it’s been a wild couple of weeks for Anna McTamney might be an understatement.
On the brink of reaching the 1,000-point milestone, the Plymouth Whitemarsh senior was stunned to receive word that the University of the Sciences would be merging with St. Joseph’s University.
For most, that might not be earth-shattering news, but to McTamney, who had committed to continue her basketball career at the Division 2 power, it was devastating.
“Coach (Jackie) Hartzell texted me and the three other (recruits) in a group chat and said the school would be merging with St. Joe’s and she didn’t know what that would mean for athletics next year,” McTamney said. “I saw the text at practice and showed it to Coach D (Dan Dougherty).
“After practice when I got home, I was so stressed out about it. I was really upset because I thought I didn’t have to worry about college anymore and that was off my shoulders. I was like, ‘What am I going to do now? I don’t have anywhere to play.’ There are probably no other scholarships out there right now. COVID is just ruining everything.
“It was all coming at me at once, and I knew I had to score my thousandth (point) soon, so it was all this pressure and so much going on, a whole bundle of emotions, and I was freaking out a bit.”
Twenty-four hours later, in PW’s home game against Wissahickon, McTamney achieved a milestone that few achieve when – despite being fouled - she scored on a driving layup in the closing moments of the Colonials’ win. With the basket, McTamney – who needed 21 points - reached the 1,000-point plateau.
“Everyone on the team knew, but I didn’t want to think about it that much because I knew it would put me off, and it did because I was in my head,” McTamney said. “I was trying not to think of how many more points I would need, but I couldn’t finish at times.
“I usually don’t miss free throws, and I missed two. We literally got down to the last 20 seconds of the game and I finally goy it. I don’t know how, but I’m very grateful for it.”
McTamney was on the PW varsity as a freshman when Lauren Fortescue reached the 1,000-point mark.
“I remember her telling me how nervous she was,” McTamney said. “She was missing a bunch of her 3-pointers. I don’t know how many 3-pointers I missed, but it was pretty similar. It was very stressful.
“I remember her being excited and everyone in the gym. It was disappointing that I didn’t have anyone there but my team – I’m very happy they were there. It was unfortunate that our jayvee and our jayvee coach (Bridgette MicKnight) couldn’t be there. They all congratulated me. Still, I wish they could have been there.”
McTamney is the 10th PW female to achieve the milestone
“Anna’s progression is everything you want a high school kid to experience,” PW coach Dan Dougherty said. “She came her freshman year and it was Taylor O’Brien, Ali Diamond and Lauren Fortescue. We were on the heels of a district runner-up finish and a deep run in states.
“Anna came in and her freshman year she just filled a role for us. She was the fifth kid on the floor and just got offensive rebounds and open layups under the basket. She filled out that role in the starting five. Five games into her freshman year she started and has started every game since.”
Each year, McTamney’s role expanded for a PW squad that won its conference in three of the past four years, including an undefeated season this year in the SOL Liberty Division.
“Sophomore year that senior class graduated and the freshman class that’s now the junior class came in and we began this new run and Anna was the leader,” Dougherty said. “Sophomore year one of the biggest memories that we all have – we were playing in a do-or-die playback game in districts. Anna hits a buzzer beater to beat Haverford and send us to states. It was just a huge moment, and it really propelled her to what she is now.
“Junior year she really added an all-around game – beating kids off the dribble, a pull-up jump shot, becoming a better defender. Now senior year she’s really added the 3-point shot to her game.”
McTamney boasts an impressive combination as she leads the Colonials in scoring, rebounding and 3-point shots made, and she’s connecting on over 80 percent of her shots from the free throw line.
The senior standout and her teammates have some unfinished business. Last year, they had just earned a spot in the PIAA 6A state quarterfinals when the season was halted for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m so grateful we’re playing,” McTamney said. ”If we wouldn’t have had a season, I would have been upset, especially how we finished last season when we could have kept going.”
Although basketball was always her favorite sport, McTamney also played soccer and volleyball through middle school. Freshman year she opted to focus only on basketball.
“I was on three basketball teams at the same time and I was playing soccer too,” the PW senior said. “I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I’m just going to focus on one sport and stick with it.’ Playing in college was a goal of mine from freshman year. And seeing where all my teammates were going to college, I really looked up to them.”
McTamney will most assuredly realize her dream of playing at the next level, although it won’t be exactly as she had planned. Last Thursday, McTamney and the other UScience recruits – which includes Upper Dublin’s Dayna Balasa – were on a Zoom call with Hartzell.
“The (USciences) athletic director said 90 percent they will have a season, the other 10 percent is corona,” McTamney said. “I guess I’ll keep my options open, but I love Jackie, the coaching staff and the team.
“(Last week) was my first time talking to the team on Zoom. I met one of the players when I went on a visit over the summer, and she was really sweet. That was my first time meeting everyone. Everyone is so nice. It’s such a shame this had to happen, but it will work out in the end.”
McTamney is planning to take advantage of the opportunity to play next year at USciences with the possibility of entering the college transfer portal after that.
“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “I’m grateful we’re even able to have a season.”
For now, McTamney’s focus is on the Colonials finishing the season strong.
“The progression from where she came in as a freshman - I can think back, and I remember calling my assistant coach, TJ DeLucia, on the phone after her first workout in the summer before her freshman year and telling him about her – ‘I could watch this kid play all day every day, that’s how hard she practices,’” Dougherty said. “I told him, ‘If she practices this hard I can’t wait to see how hard she plays,’ and she’s not ever let us down, not ever.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a Saturday morning practice after a loss or a state playoff game. She practices so hard, she plays so hard, she’s just a coach’s dream.”