Girls Basketball: Mother McAuley’s Elizabeth Nye standing out at 5-foot-6
When you’re 5-foot-6, driving the lane can be a pretty intimidating venture.
But that’s never stopped Elizabeth Nye.
The senior point guard from Mother McAuley leads the team in points (20), assists (6) and probably bruises.
She has a toughness that comes from being a coach’s daughter and the younger sister of a football player.
“I think I hate losing more than I like to win,” Nye said after scoring 34 points and handing out eight assists in McAuley’s 59-45 win Saturday over Crete-Monee. “In school, everything in my life, I’ve always been a competitive kid.
“Being 5-6 is never going to stop me.”
Nye is a huge reason why the Mighty Macs have been able to overcome a series of injuries to post a 13-4 record.
“She is fun to watch,” McAuley coach Ashley Luke Clanton said. “She’s really grown in the past year. A lot of times before she was so determined, sometimes it held her back from being as good as she is. But she’s really learned to rein it in and make it a positive thing.
“She’s a tough-nut kid. And we’re happy to have her.”
Nye’s father, Steve, was the football coach at Brother Rice from 1999 to 2011 before resigning to take the same position at York. Her older brother, Thomas, played football and water polo at Brother Rice and is now a sophomore at Notre Dame.
As a student/athlete at Christ The King grammar school, Nye, at 5-feet, seemed more suited to be a setter in volleyball.
“Volleyball didn’t have enough contact for me,” Nye said, smiling. “I was born with a feisty nature, I guess. I like playing defense, taking a charge, stuff like that.
“I always loved basketball. Even when I was little my Dad coached my brother in grammar school and I used to go to his practice and practice with the boys.”
It paid off with a spot in McAuley’s program, where she was the second-leading scorer as a sophomore.
Nye said that Clanton, who became the Mighty Macs’ head coach for the 2012-13 season, has been an inspiration. Clanton, a 5-6 guard, was an All-American in high school at Waubonsie Valley and broke the state record for three-pointers made (437). She went on to play at Penn State and DePaul.
“Coach Clanton has always been in my ear telling me it doesn’t matter how tall you are as long as you are tough and go after it,” Nye said. “You can be as good as you want, as big as you allow yourself to be.
“She also has helped me be a better decision-maker. I love to pass, but she’s taught me it’s not just like forcing the ball in there, it’s getting yourself better angles.”
Nye angled her way through Crete-Monee’s tall post players on Saturday to convert two layups and get to the free-throw line myriad times, from where she was 21-of-24.
“She’s crafty and collected,” Clanton said. “She knows how to use the opponent’s shoulder to keep her at bay. And the fact that she can get to the basket, shoot the three or pull up from a soft spot opens up all of those passing lanes. And now she’s a great passer.
“Really, she has become a great decision-maker. And that’s what you need in a point guard. It’s fun to have somebody that you can trust will make the right decision.”