Ashanae McLaughlin was looking for a place she was wanted, needed and would be pushed when it came time to start her collegiate career. It’s exactly what she found when the Bronx native and Murry Bergtraum girls’ basketball star visited Seton Hall.
“As soon as I got there everyone was so excited for me to be there,” McLaughlin said. “Just talking to them showed me that they were every interested and they wanted me. It was comfortable already.”
The senior shooting guard felt so good that she verbally committed to spend her next four years with head coach Tony Bozzella and the Pirates. McLaughlin chose Seton Hall over VCU, LaSalle St. John’s and Rutgers. She is already friends with former Nazareth stars and future Pirate teammates Bra’Shey Ali and Tiffany Jones. Gauchos summer ball coach Earl Elliott believes McLaughlin found exactly what she wanted in the Big East school.
“She was looking for a position where she would actually fill a need and that was probably the best position for her,” he said. “She wanted to stay relatively close to home. She got the best of both worlds.”
McLaughlin is one of the city’s best scoring guards and had been since her freshman season a Murry Bergtraum. She averaged 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists during the regular season. Where McLaughlin trives however is under pressure in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. She scored 17 points and turned a steal into a layup to put Bergtruam ahead for good with 4.2 seconds left in a regular season win over Francis Lewis last season. McLaughlin also stole the ball on the final possession to seal the victory.
“She knows how to win,” Lady Blazers coach Ed Grezinsky said. “She doesn’t shy away from anything. She is not afraid to take a big shot in a big game or make a play in a big game.”
McLaughlin comes into this season with extra motivation. Her 19 points weren’t enough as Bergtraum lost a late lead and fell to Francis Lewis in the PSAL Class AA semifinals. It ended the Manhattan school’s 15-year reign as PSAL city champions. McLaughlin is happy she gets a chance to put the school back on top in her final season. It is a task that just got harder with sophomore guard Milicia Reid transferring to Bishop Loughlin.
“It was tough, but it is a lesson learned,” she said of seeing the streak end. “Now our goal is to get back. It’s just a motivation. Now we know what we have to do in order to get it back.”
McLaughlin is happy to have her college choice over with so she can focus on success on the court and in the classroom in her senior year. She knows waiting for her is a place in Seton Hall, a program on the rise, that is going to push her to be the best player and student she can be.
“It’s good because I know I have a home already and they are going to be watching my progress,” McLaughlin said. “They are going to be working with me.”