Mount Marty College hadn’t even taken the court yet Thursday night, but its women’s basketball program was already celebrating a significant win.
Not on the hardwood, but on the recruiting trail.
Centerville standout guard Kieran O’Malley, a highly sought-after prospect with just shy of 1,900 career points, signed her letter of intent this week to play basketball for the Lancers starting next fall.
“It was a really tough decision for, because there were a lot of good schools that I was thinking about,” she said Thursday night. “My friend (and former teammate), Sam Blake is playing there, so I thought it’d be fun to play with her again.”
Twice a Class B first team all-state selection, O’Malley averaged 23.2 points and 4.9 assists per game as a junior last season. She already holds the school record for career points (1,887) and steals (284), and naturally caught the attention of regional colleges.
Ultimately, the Lancers and head coach Tom Schlimgen won out.
“She’s been one of our top recruits from the get-go, so that was a 2-year project,” Schlimgen said. “We have a nice location for her, and I think she likes our style of play.
“We think she’ll have a nice career here.”
O’Malley’s recruiting stock reached its high point during her time with the Dakota Schools on the summer AAU tour, but admitted that Mount Marty moved to the top of her list after an on-campus visit.
“I really liked the school and the tour was great,” she said. “I got to meet some of the girls. They have great coaches, plus it’s close enough to home where I can always come back and watch my siblings play.”
It’s the potential of O’Malley playing, though, that caused the Lancers understandable excitement on the news. O’Malley’s offensive style fits the system in place with MMC, Schlimgen said.
“She puts up some big numbers; can do just about everything,” he said. “On the offensive end, she’s got the full package. We’re interested to see how the defense goes there, with a new coach. It sounds like man-to-man, which pleases us.”
In addition to her basketball award, O’Malley is receiving an academic honors scholarship from Mount Marty.
For now, though, she is gearing up for her senior season with the Tornadoes.
“I’m mainly just focused on getting a good education, but I also wanted to keep playing basketball,” O’Malley said. “I’m really excited, and hopefully it’s a good experience for me.”
You can follow Jeremy Hoeck on Twitter at twitter.com/jhoeck