If you take a look at Elizabeth Radley, you’d never guess the kind of player she was.
Radley, a senior at Holy Family University, stands 6 feet 1, so you’d think she’d be found under the basket, looking for easy layups. And when the situation calls for it, she’s more than capable of doing that. But ever since she was a kid, she felt just as comfortable beyond the arc as in the paint, and that made her a real challenge to cover, both in high school and later in college.
“I played AAU and when I did that, I had more of a chance to play on the wing and shoot,” said Radley, who lives in Hainesport, New Jersey, and went to Bishop Eustace. “My coach told me to go out and shoot the three, and I just got good at it. It became a big part of my game. Once I started working on it, I did it a lot more.”
This year, Radley did a lot for the Tigers, who were playing for the first year under coach Bernadette Laukaitis. She led the team in scoring with 15.9 points per game, and blocks. She also was second on the team in rebounds, pulling down 7.5 boards per game, .1 rebounds less than freshman sensation and Archbishop Ryan grad Moe Moore, who was second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.5 points per game.
The combo, along with a solid group around them, led the Tigers to a stellar season. They won 18 games and advanced to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference championship game.
Both Radley and Moore were named to the All-CACC Tournament team.
A win would have extended the season, so it was a tough ending, but it’s hard to be disappointed considering the campaign was an improvement of 10 wins compared to the previous season.
“This year was great, and there were a lot of reasons for it,” said Radley, who was named CACC Student-Athlete of the Month for February for demonstrating success in athletics, achievement in academics and generosity in giving back to her local community. “When (Laukaitis) came in, she changed the culture and everyone loved playing for her. She’s a great coach and she was so committed to helping us get better.
“We had a great team, there were so many good players on the team. We played for each other. Coach Bern changed a lot of things, and it worked. We had a great year. I’m very happy we had this kind of season, especially for my senior year.”
Radley could continue her basketball career, but competitively, this probably marked her final year. She was pondering playing overseas, and based on the season she just enjoyed, she’d be a prime candidate for catching on somewhere. But instead of finding a spot to star on the court, she’s going to follow her other passion.
Radley majored in psychology and spent time interning at the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support, located on the campus on St. Joe’s University.
There, she worked with youngsters on the autism spectrum, and loved it because she was able to help them and make a difference.
Next year, she’ll continue that journey when she attends graduate school at Boston College.
“I’m excited to start helping people, I really enjoyed the internship because you can really help them, and it’s fun to see them learn. It’s going to be a big change for me, living in Boston, but it’s not far. I’ll be able to come home. But it’s a great opportunity for me to do what I want to do. I can’t wait to get started.”
It will be a big adjustment for Radley, who has spent her entire life surrounded by family and loved ones.
Her parents never miss a game, and her family never misses a Christmas together. It’s a full house, too. Her mom is one of seven, and there are 19 grandchildren in the family. They never miss a holiday, which includes “kids” from ages 12 to 36.
“We are all very close, we always have been,” Radley said. “The cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, we’re always around each other. And they would come to a lot of my games. We all support each other, a lot. We’re so close and love being around each other.”
Next year, she’ll be roughly six hours away, but thanks to technology, she’ll be a FaceTime away.
She’ll also be back to watch her younger teammates get back on the court.
“My parents will probably still be at every game,” Radley said. “I’ll come back. I’ll always be back. I love the school.”
She also thinks they’ll have another great year next year.
Sure, they’ll need to replace the major contribution Radley gave to the team. Not only was she a three-time member of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Women’s Basketball All-Academic team, but became the first Tiger to be named to First-Team All-CACC since 2013, when Erin Mann got the nod.
“This year was a great season and they’re going to be good next year, too,” Radley said. “Everything about the team is going great. Coach Bern has done so much, and they’re going to be good next year. I’m excited to see how they do.”