Courtesy of UR Athletics








Junior Ally Zywicki has started off her third year as a YellowJacket in fine fashion, so far leading the team in points, assists, three-pointers, free throws, and steals.

Last year, as a sophomore, Zywicki led the team in several offensive categories and was also the first UR sophomore to ever be named to the all-UAA first team. The Liverpool, N.Y. native was also named an Honorable Mention All-American for her strong season. With her junior season still in its early stages, Zywicki and the rest of the ‘Jackets will be looking to hit their stride over the next few months, particularly once the crucial UAA conference games begin in January.

Why did you choose to play basketball?

When I was young, about four, my Dad and I used to dribble a basketball in the basement together for hours, and I haven’t stopped playing since. It’s been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember and a majority of my best friends now have come from teams that I have played on over the years.

Why did you come to UR?

Rochester was one of the first schools that I visited and I fell in love with the campus on the tour. It was able to offer a challenging academic schedule and a great basketball program, which were two of the top qualities I was looking for in a school.

What is your best memory as a member of the basketball team?

My best memory of a game here was winning the Wendy’s Classic championship last year off of a game winning shot by [senior] Danielle McNabb to give us our eighth consecutive title. She had been hurt earlier in the game, and could barely stand, but was still was able to knock down the three point shot from the corner. The Wendy’s Classic is a tournament that all of the local Rochester colleges participate in to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you had known before coming to UR?

I wish I would have known that it is okay to come into college and completely change your mindset on what you want to do once you graduate. It’s hard to know what you want to do with the rest of your life at age 18, and UR’s flexible curriculum makes it possible to try out new interests.

What are your goals for the team this year? Any personal goals?

Winning the Wendy’s Classic in the first semester is something that our team and previous Rochester teams before us have taken pride in. Then once we reach conference play in the second semester, our goal is always to win the UAA championship, which gives us an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. For me personally, I just hope to do what I need to for us to win every game.

Are there any games this season that you are particularly excited for?

My favorite game of the season is getting to play Washington University in St. Louis in its home gym. They have such a reputable women’s basketball program and have only lost a handful of times in their own gym. The game is always a competitive battle and fun to play in.

How do you typically prepare for a game? Do you have any rituals or superstitions?

I don’t have too many pregame rituals. I like to listen to motivational speeches. My favorite is the “Inch by Inch” speech by Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday. They help clear my head and get me mentally focused on the game and what I need to do.

What aspect of your game would say has improved the most since coming to UR? 

I think that I was forced to learn how to play at a faster pace. The game in college moves much quicker than high school, so certain things I was able to get away with didn’t work anymore. For example, a lot of my passes would get tipped or intercepted by the defense and become turnovers. I had to make adjustments and learn how to make decisions much faster.

Shapiro is a member of the class of 2016.

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