Kristen McCarthy hopes to continue her basketball career.
Senior guard Kristen McCarthy sat at home in La Puenta, Calif. with family waiting to hear those words. But they never came.
McCarthy watched the Women’s National Basketball Association’s 2012 draft expecting to hear her name called, but never did.
“I’ll just continue to work out, hopefully get a training camp invite,” McCarthy said. “I feel that all I need is the chance […] Basketball is my dream.”
McCarthy now must entertain the options of a WNBA training camp invite, heading to Europe to play professionally or moving on to coaching.
In her four years McCarthy established herself as “one of the best players to ever play here at Temple, if not the best besides Candice Dupree, obviously,” said senior guard Shey Peddy, who was selected 23rd overall by the Chicago Sky at the WNBA Draft.
McCarthy averaged 12.4 points in 131 games, grabbed 713 rebounds (9th all-time), recorded 209 steals (8th all-time) and is in the Top 10 in several other categories. She also owns the top single-game scoring record with 42 points against Charlotte two years ago.
“She never takes a day off,” Peddy said. “She comes to practice, weight room, whatever it is, she gives 110 percent. And it’s rare to find. I know sometimes I take plays off.”
But what brought the self-described “Cali girl” all the way out to the East Coast for four years, with its snowy winters and lack of her favorite Mexican food?
“I just wanted to come to the East Coast and just experience something different,” McCarthy said. “Something just changed in me [sophomore year of high school], I don’t know what.”
While she adjusted well on the floor – fourth in school history in scoring with 1,619 points – she never quite got the hang of Philadelphia.
“She always complains about how it’s 80 degrees back at home,” Peddy said, making fun of her teammate. “If you want to come to the East Coast this is what you get over here.”
Thankfully for the Owls basketball isn’t played outdoors.
McCarthy is the second of five children, and the only one playing college sports. McCarthy began dribbling a ball when she was 5 years old, and quickly developed into a playmaker. When the time came she looked at the University of California, Rutgers and Temple. She chose Temple because of former coach Dawn Staley.
But when Staley left for South Carolina and Tonya Cardoza was hired a few months before McCarthy’s arrival McCarthy decided to ask for her release from Temple. Cardoza was unavailable for comment.
“[Cardoza] had said one reason why she didn’t release is because I took the time to come all the way out here,” McCarthy said. “And she said she saw how I was interacting with the teammates and stuff and she just felt in her heart that I liked it here.”
McCarthy fit in immediately, averaging 8.6 points per game on her way to the Atlantic Ten Conference All-Rookie Team and Big 5 Rookie of the Year in her first season.
McCarthy missed her family, but quickly made Philadelphia her second home and decided against transferring after her freshman year.
“I just really enjoyed everything,” McCarthy said. “I think how I am, anyway, I’m going to enjoy anywhere that I am. But I was just comfortable.”
Her junior year McCarthy teamed with Wright State transfer Peddy, becoming one of the most dangerous duos in the conference.
“She made my transition coming here a lot smoother,” Peddy said.
The pair averaged a combined 25.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game in their first season together, as the Owls lost in the A-10 semifinals.
“She’s not cocky at all, I think that’s what separates her from everybody,” Peddy said. “[McCarthy] is good, everybody knows she’s good, but she still works as if she’s the worst player on the team.”
While Peddy averaged 17.6 points per game on her way to A-10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year this season, McCarthy quietly worked her way up the record books, and drew interest from the WNBA.
McCarthy struggled down the stretch, however, averaging just 8.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in five postseason games. She was disappointed to leave Temple without an A-10 championship.
McCarthy moved on, however, working out to prepare for her pro career. She also attended the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association “So You Want To Be A Coach” program during the women’s NCAA Final Four.
But her coaching days will remain on hold for a while as she hopes for a training camp invite in the WNBA or an invitation to play in Europe.
“It’s been a good experience, a good ride,” McCarthy said. “I think I’m definitely ready to move on to the next step, just continue playing and everything.”
Jake Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.