Rocky River native settles into role on Redhawks’ women’s hoops team
WestLife on Campus
By Ryan Kaczmarski
Rocky River High School graduate Hannah McCue will have her homecoming today as the Miami University freshman traveled back to the North coast with her Redhawks team to play in the Mid American Conference women’s basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena.
McCue was a four-year letter winner in high school, earning Division II first team All-Ohio honors her senior year, but the college game took some time for her to get used to.
“It’s not like it was in high school – I loved my team in Rocky River – it’s so much more intense,” she said. “It’s just that you’re going 100 percent the whole time, whether it’s just for a minute or 10 or five.”
She has appeared in 24 games during her freshman season, coming off the bench in 21 of those appearances, which would have been unheard of in her high school years.
“I wouldn’t say (coming off the bench) was a hard adjustment,” McCue said. “At first, it was just different for me, but that was what was happening. Now, I just look forward to getting my opportunities to prove that I have something to offer the team when I get called off the bench.”
Playing in front of the huge college crowds, in large venues against storied programs was another thing McCue had to get used to. In the Redhawks game at the University of Kentucky last November, there were more than 6,000 people in attendance.
“It was awesome,” she said. “It was so much fun – just the atmosphere. Even though we were the opposing team, and we were the underdogs, it was just a blast with how many people there were there. I can’t even really describe (the feeling) to be on the floor and be one of the 25 girls who all of those people were there to watch, which was really, really amazing.”
McCue went down to the Oxford, Ohio campus last summer to start working out and get ready for the basketball season, which helped her to get to know her some of her new teammates.
“Over the summer, there were only three juniors and four freshmen down here,” she said. “We were kind of close, but we really bonded when we went to Cancun in December and that was really fun. We not only played down there, but we got to go have dinner together and go by the pool together and I think we really bonded then. Over the winter break in general, we really bonded, because we were the some of the only people on campus.”
The Redhawks teammates have pushed McCue to elevate her skills and become a more mature basketball player.
“Just in general, everyone wants you to be your best,” she said. “Obviously, we aren’t going to have the most perfect practices, but everyone encourages each other and gets on each other, and we all know that we have a certain role and responsibility to fulfill and basically if you don’t do that, people are going to push you to do it.
“We have good leaders as upperclassmen. They have a good way of getting to us and not treating us like underclassmen, but it’s more in a helpful way, so we can develop more as a player.”
McCue has had to change the way she plays the game in college, as opposed to her style of play in high school.
“In high school, I really played any (of the five) position(s),” she said. “I played post and would do guard work, but here I work with the guards. I’ve been working on my shooting a lot, and the biggest thing I’ve worked on is my defense.”
“(Her guard play) is one of those things that we’ve been talking about for three years, she and I, and we knew going in (to her college career) she needed some great growth,” Rocky River High School head girls basketball coach Mike Sislowski said. “She changing physically and with her game out on the perimeter.
“With Hannah, it’s always going to be about learning to play with that crazy work ethic for the entire time she is on the floor.”
McCue has averaged 1.8 points and 1.9 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game this season. She scored a season high 10 points in her third start, at Kent State University on Jan. 27.
Also coming back home to Cleveland today is Fairview Park native and Magnificat High School graduate Megan Barilla, who is a freshman on the University of Akron women’s basketball team.
The Miami Redhawks opened MAC tourney play with a 83-61 win over Ohio University on Saturday and will play against the University of Buffalo at 2:30 p.m. today at the “Q.” The winner of that game will play the Akron Zips tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m.