Katie Healy, St. Bonaventure proving prognostication wrong

SUNDAY ON ASN: UMass at St. Bonaventure, 5 p.m. ET (click logo for local listings)

St. Bonaventure forward Katie Healy, halfway through her senior season, finds herself eighth on the Bonnies’ all-time scoring list (1,431 points), third on the all-time rebounding list (718) and first in blocked shots (130). She is one of four players in school history with 1,400 points and 700 rebounds.

Yet the number foremost in her mind is nine. As in, where the Bonnies were picked to finish by the Atlantic 10’s coaches in their preseason poll.

“We like being the underdog,” she said. “We like proving people wrong, and that’s something we’re going to pride ourselves on, going forward.”

She is cognizant of the fact that the Bonnies were picked to finish deep in the pack her sophomore year, only to go 24-11. She is just as cognizant of the fact that they were picked to finish near the top last season, only to go 15-15.

She called this year’s prognostication “a little puzzling,” but it was obviously welcome. The Bonnies carry a 13-2 record and 12-game winning streak into Sunday’s home game on ASN against Massachusetts.

“We’re the underdog again this year in the A-10,” she said again, “so we always perform when we’re in that role.”

More numbers: The 6-1 Healy, an all-conference first-teamer two years ago and a second-teamer last season, is leading the team in scoring (15.1) and blocks (1.9) for the third straight year, and rebounding (7.4) for the second straight.

At her current pace she stands to finish as high as fifth on the school’s all-time scoring list, and as high as third on the rebounding list.

All of which she downplays.

“It’s all very humbling,” she said. “It’s not something I necessarily strive to do. You don’t really strive to get top five in scoring, rebounding, No. 1 in blocks. It all just kind of comes when you play hard. It’s easy when you’re in the system I’m in. The coaches are awesome. Our teamwork’s all together, so it’s easy to get those numbers when you’re playing for three years with a great group of players.”

She said this year’s Bonnies have benefitted enormously from the leadership of their senior class, which besides herself includes starting guards Nyla Rueter and Emily Michael, as well as reserve guard Kelcie Rombach. The development of two sophomore starters, forward Miranda Drummond and guard Mariah Ruff, has helped a lot, too.

Drummond (12.9) and Rueter (11.8) also score in double figures, and as a team the Bonnies have excelled at the defensive end, limiting opponents to 33.4% shooting from the floor and 24.5% accuracy from 3-point range.

“We definitely pride ourselves on defense,” she said.

It helps that she is always lurking near the rim. She has blocked three or more shots six times, part of a season that has seen her fashion three double-doubles, score 14 or more points on eight occasions, grab at least six rebounds in eight games and hand out at least three assists on nine occasions.

But again, she would argue that she is a product of the system, that it’s easy to excel when you have great people around you.

That was the case growing up in Lancaster, N.Y., too. Her late father, Kevin, played at Division III Geneseo State and coached her when she was very young; he died when she was 6, and her mom, Barbara, is now married to Michael Sacchitella, Katie’s stepfather.

Katie’s older sisters, Sarah and Christina, also played, in high school and at Division II Roberts Wesleyan, respectively.

“Being the youngest and going as far as I have is kind of something that I pride myself in as well,” she said.

She would like to go further, would like to play professionally somewhere. But for now, her focus is on a certain number.

As opposed to her numbers.

Above: Katie Healy has helped St. Bonaventure, picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic 10’s preseason coaches’ poll, to a 12-2 start this season. (Courtesy of St. Bonaventure Athletics)

Gordie Jones

Gordie Jones is a freelance writer based in Lititz, Pa.