Player profile: Sophomore guard Katie Paganelli

Sports have always consumed a large portion of sophomore guard Katie Paganelli’s life. She was exposed to them early in her childhood-something that she believes made her a better player for Saint Louis University.

“I had three older brothers, so I definitely had sports ingrained in my mind,” Paganelli said. “As a kid, I was constantly competing with my brothers, which certainly made me a better competitor and a better athlete.”

Paganelli said that she did not take basketball seriously until seventh grade, and that her decision to concentrate on the sport was a subconscious one based on her love of the game rather than her natural talent.

“I think that I was a much better softball player than a basketball player as a kid,” Paganelli said. “Despite the fact that I was better at softball, my real love was always basketball. I was so much more passionate about that sport. It was the passion for the game that made me a better player because I was striving so hard to be be good at the sport which I truly loved.”

Paganelli continued to play basketball through high school at Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati. There, she lead her basketball team to a 25-3 record her senior year and to the Ohio State Championship. Paganelli said her desire to succeed in high school has helped her succeed at SLU.

“I came from a winning team in high school, and there is a certain attitude and pride that comes with being on a winning team,” Paganelli said.

“I want to get to that point with this team-to have a winning season and to be able to be successful in everything we do on the court, whatever it takes.”

Last season, Paganelli shot 80 percent from the free-throw line, ranking her first on the team and eighth in the league. Paganelli believes that a free throw is meant to be free, and taking advantage of them is key to the game.

“When I go up to that line, I try not to think about anything else that is going on,” Paganelli said. “While certainly it is difficult not to focus on the stress of the situation I try to just focus on the moment.

“To me, a free throw is a nice little gift, and anytime I do not collect on that gift I think of it as a failure,” Paganelli said. “I would never want me missing a free throw to be that one little moment that ruins the game for my team.”

In addition to her success on free throws, Paganelli led the team in three pointers. She ranked third in scoring, assists and steals.

Paganelli attributes her success to her teammates and coach.
“Last season was definitely an amazing season for me,” Paganelli said. “I do think, however, that my personal success last season should be largely attributed to the people I was playing with. My teammates have really inspired me, and coach Gray is building a strong program for the women’s basketball team. Mostly, I am just glad to be part of all that.

Paganelli said that this season is about developing as a team and taking its success to the next level.

“We came so close to winning the Atlantic 10 conference tournament last season, especially considering how far we had gotten that season,” Paganelli said.

“The fact that we did not win that title makes me want to win it this year even more.”

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