Senior Profile: Basketball captain Molly Ryan looks back on mentors, memories

Women's basketball captain, senior Molly Ryan, is pictured on April 28. Natalie Brownsell / The Tufts Daily

It may be hard to believe that the Class of 2022 is enjoying its last weeks as Tufts students. Such a time is due for reminiscing on the memories made over these past four years in Medford. For senior basketball Captain Molly Ryan, her time at Tufts has forged long-lasting friendships and memories that will not be soon forgotten.

Basketball runs deep in the family for Ryan, a senior from Westfield, N.J. Ryan’s father, Billy, was a four-year starter and Ivy League champion at Princeton University, while her cousin is a name Tufts fans may remember fondly: former captain and 2019 graduate Jac Knapp. Ryan was drawn to the strong academics Tufts offered and her experience and interactions with the team while watching Knapp play.

“I had the opportunity to come to some of her games when I was a sophomore and junior in high school,” Ryan said. “I really looked up to her, and I had the opportunity to meet the team obviously when I would come up and watch her play.”

Most first-year athletes go through the growing pains of not getting much playing time early on. However, Ryan was a starter right out of the gate. As a first-year being thrust into a large role immediately, Ryan credited her teammates with making her feel welcome as soon as she stepped on campus.

“My freshman year everyone was so welcoming,” Ryan said. “We had a smaller three coming in. It was just me, Sophia [Rosa] and Janette [Wadolowski]. … It immediately felt like we had a place on the team.”

Ryan is among the few college players to experience playing for multiple head coaches. Playing for Carla Berube and then Jill Pace once Berube left for Princeton after Ryan’s first year, Ryan leaves Tufts with nothing but positive impressions of her two coaches.

“They’re amazing, phenomenal coaches but just even better people off the court,” Ryan said. “I’ll always cherish the relationships I’ve had with them here, and I’m very, very lucky to say that I was coached by Coach Berube for one year and Coach Pace for three.”

All college students leave school with quality memories. For Ryan, the ones that stand out to her span both on and off the basketball court. From winning the NESCAC Championship and seeing Knapp score her 1,000th point to traveling to California for a winter break tournament this past season, Ryan fondly looks back on many moments in her collegiate athletic career.

Off the court, Ryan was involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and she was a Green Dot representative on campus. But her fondest memories are those made between her and her teammates.

“I would just say my favorite memories are with my teammates. I’m so lucky to say that my teammates will be my best friends for life,” Ryan said. “There are just so many [favorite memories] to choose from, but [my teammates are] all a part of them.”

Ryan also highlighted her family as a huge part of her positive experience at Tufts.

“I’m very lucky that they’re my biggest supporters. Every weekend, they would come up [to watch],” Ryan said.

On the court, Ryan enjoyed another strong season as a co-captain of the team. Averaging 14 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, Ryan was a steady force on a Tufts team that saw tremendous success once again. While the senior is moving on from collegiate basketball, Ryan plans to stay in the Boston area to work for a startup company.

With all of her contributions on and off the basketball court over the past four years, Ryan leaves a lasting impact on Tufts and the women’s basketball team, as well as leaves with memories that will last a lifetime.


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