At several stages of her basketball career, Norwich University freshman guard Aliah Curry has had important influences guide her progress.
While there may have been the usual dolls and tea parties at a young age, Curry remembers her mother, Stephanie, talking basketball.
“Mom got me involved when I was in second grade, and I’ve loved the game ever since,” the Norwich University’s freshman guard said. Cadets’ head coach Mark Zacher and several more coaches along the way in Curry’s career have probably thanked Mrs. Curry for her guidance.
Since stepping onto Norwich’s campus in September of 2011, Aliah has made her presence felt in basketball terms. She went into the final two games of the 2011-12 regular season with the second-highest single-season point total of any NU first-year player. Her 436 points trail only former Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference and Great Northeast Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year Shevon Gibbons’ 567-point total of 2000-01.
“I’ve been amazed about how well things have gone here,” Curry said with her trademark smile. “I didn’t know what to expect (coming in to Norwich). My high school career went well, but I had lost some confidence during my sophomore and junior years. I didn’t feel like I finally got back the way I felt during my freshman year of high school until last season.”
A knee injury was the culprit for Aliah’s tough play at Wahconah Regional High School of Massachusetts during two of her four prep years. “I always knew the brace was there,” she said. “Even when I had a full range of motion, I was conscious of (the injury).”
Her senior year was different. With the brace off, she helped guide her team to the Western Massachusetts sectional final and eventually to the Division II state tournament. Curry’s play didn’t go unnoticed by the state’s coaches as she was named Division II Most Valuable Player.
“I had it narrowed down to Springfield and Norwich (for my college choice),” she said. “I really liked Coach Zacher and the program here, so it made it an easy decision. I really enjoy it, too. Coach gives myself and the players ability on the court to make decisions during the game.”
“We knew what we had with Aliah,” Zacher said. “She was a very good high school basketball player. The two things that impress me about her is that she adjusts very well, and she has a good idea of fundamentals due to her background. She just has a good basketball IQ.”
Due to influences from Zacher, she has also added positives to her game in the rebounding and long-range shooting department. The second of those has seen remarkable dividends, as she ranked among the top 10 in three-point field goals per game (fifth – 3.2 pg) which has translated into her being among the top 25 of NCAA Division III in scoring (23rd – 19 ppg).
“In regards to rebounding, (Coach) always says that ‘you know where the shot is going so follow it’,” Curry said. “It’s been a big help in watching the play all the way through.”
“He’s also helped me in knowing where I’m at on the floor in relation to my shot selection,” she added. “The double lines for three-point shots for high school and college on the same floor used to confuse me. Now, due to that direction, I’m more able to find my spots.”
“Aliah has had to handle the ball probably more than a lot of freshmen guards do,” Zacher said. “There is a lot of learning in that process from high school to college basketball, but she has taken to her role well.”
And, as she progresses in her collegiate career, likely more positive influences will help the Norwich University freshman standout continue and develop in her lifelong love.