New Faces: O’Connor joins women’s basketball eager to embrace academics and athletics

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Photo: Courtesy of Quinn O'Connor

O'Connor made her commitment to the college official from home on April 22.

By Alberto Gilman

After Quinn O’Connor virtually graduates from Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, she will join the women’s basketball team as a first generation college student. 

“She’s going to learn so much and enjoy every piece of it,” Jim O’Connor, her father, said in a phone interview with The Beacon. “Enjoy every moment. Whether it’s on the basketball court or in class.”  

O’Connor, a point guard and journalism major, committed to the college on Feb. 5 before making things official during an at-home signing ceremony on April 22.

“I’m really looking forward to being at Emerson, not just to play basketball, but just to go to school in a really cool city and meet a lot of cool people,” O’Connor said in a phone interview with The Beacon.

At a young age, O’Connor’s parents said she possessed skill in writing well beyond her years. Her composition, structure, and insight that she put into her work stood out to her parents. 

Kelly Conway, O’Connor’s mother, said she remembers her talking about political events as early as when she was in middle school. When O’Connor went to a model Congress event and did a stint on the media team, she fell in love with the profession. Current events became common dinner table conversations.

The opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Journalism at Emerson stood out to O’Connor when she was looking for schools.

“I wanted to major in journalism,” O’Connor said. “Doing research with my college counselors on what the best schools for that would be, Emerson was top of the list.”  

Back home on the court for the next six years, O’Connor played on Moravian Academy’s middle and high school teams. In high school, O’Connor ran cross country and was the team captain during her junior and senior seasons. 

Through high school, she also played in the Amateur Athletic Union with the United AAU team under coach Ralph Giordano. Giordano said O’Connor spent time with the team growing independent as a player while improving her shooting and playstyle.

“I’ve seen tremendous growth,” Giordano said in a phone interview with The Beacon. “She’s not only grown as a player, but as a person too. She embraces the ability to improve.

During her time with United AAU, O’Connor said she played not only with girls her own age, but also in older divisions as well. 

Steve Turpening, O’Connor’s coach at Moravian Academy, said she should expect a significant increase in competition as she prepares to compete at the collegiate level. 

“She’s going to be challenged a lot more,” Turpening said in a phone interview with The Beacon. “Keep your head on straight. Keep fighting. Keep working.”

When O’Connor first communicated with head coach Bill Gould over email, she sent game clips to watch. Gaining interest, Gould first met O’Connor when he attended one of her AAU games last summer.

Watching O’Connor play, Gould said she is a well rounded and talented player, and the type of player he is looking for to join the Lions. 

“I liked her game,” Gould said. “I liked the fact that she played smart.”

Gould’s interest helped O’Connor pursue basketball going into college. 

With her enrollment deposit submitted, O’Connor is ready to join the women’s basketball team and grow as a student athlete.  

The path her daughter continues to go down makes Kelly Conway incredibly proud. 

“Quinn has an amazing work ethic,” Conway said in a phone interview with The Beacon. “She’s proven to us that she’s ready for college. She’s ready for the challenge. Sometimes I just can’t wipe the smile off my face for what she’s accomplished and what she’s going to accomplish.”