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|St. Mary's of Lynn guard Jennie Mucciarone committed to Tufts University on Monday.|
If Jennie Mucciarone's college decision works out as well as high school, she will be a very happy Jumbo.
"As an eighth-grader, I never would have expected to come here. Now I can't picture high school anyplace else," Mucciarone, a St. Mary's senior who made a verbal commitment to play basketball at Tufts University.
Mucciarone joins teammates Brianna Rudolph (UMass Lowell) and Sharell Sanders (Caldwell College) as verbal commits, giving St. Mary's a college Div. 1, 2 and 3 player on its roster.
"I was looking at NESCAC schools because they have a reputation for being great academically and athletically," she said, adding that she made her decision after spending a night at Tufts.
"I made a few visits and did my first overnight at Tufts," said Mucciarone, an outstanding student who is ranked No. 6 in her class. "I just got the feeling that is where I belong. I loved the team. I could see myself at the school, not just for basketball."
Mucciarone is a 5-7 shooting guard who has averaged 16 points a game the last two seasons. At that pace, she will become the program's third 1,000-point scorer, joining Robyn Mazin and Tori Faieta. She has started all 76 games since arriving at St. Mary's, helping the Spartans win a state championship her freshman year. St. Mary's is 58-18 with her in the lineup.
"We had a great team coming back when Jennie was a freshman, but she came in and gave us the outside threat we needed," said St. Mary's Coach and Athletic Director Jeff Newhall, who said Mucciarone's basketball IQ helps set her apart.
"Not only is she one of the most talented players, but she knows the game as well or better than anyone on the floor. She has the ability of knowing how to get open and what to do when she gets the ball."
Mucciarone has also enjoyed success on the pitch, starting for four years on the girls soccer team and leading the team to the North final as a sophomore. She played on a North championship softball team as a freshman before hanging up her cleats the last two years to focus on AAU hoop in the spring. She plans a return to the diamond next spring.
"Coming to St. Mary's was great decision in all aspects," she said. "It's been an unbelievable experience with the people I've met and the opportunities I've received. St. Mary's challenged me. I really grew up. The family atmosphere among students, teachers, players and coaches is unreal."
Newhall said he is not surprised to see Mucciarone land at a school the caliber of Tufts. "I always thought she was an Ivy League and NESCAC type of student and she had interest from schools in both leagues," he said. "Tufts is academically one of the best schools in the country and one of the top 10 basketball programs in the country. She made a great choice."