Jenny Ryan is a lot of things. She’s an LSA senior, a point guard, she was the captain of the 2012-2013 women’s basketball squad and she’s a third team All-Big Ten selection.
But above all else, Jenny Ryan is a Wolverine.
The Saginaw native will go down as one of the best women’s basketball players in program history, both on and off the court.
“As a freshman, I just tried to learn my place,” Ryan said. “(But) by senior year, I just wanted to leave my mark.”
Averaging about 10.2 points per game, while adding 4.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists, Ryan was not only a leader in the locker room, but also on the court. Kim Barnes Arico, Michigan’s first-year head coach, consistently pointed to Ryan as the most invaluable part of the team’s success.
“I’ve coached a lot of really good point guards in my career as a coach, and she leads the pack just because of everything she does,” Barnes Arico said after a huge win against Michigan State in February. “She’s the total package. She’s a coach’s dream really.”
Added Ryan: “With a coaching change you don’t know what to expect, but Coach Arico made our senior year as special as it could be. She gave me a lot of freedom and a lot of responsibility. She trust me a lot and by naming me captain, it kind of made it that much more special.”
During the rare moments Ryan spent on the bench, she strived to pump up teammates, keeping everyone focused and motivated. Even in the locker room, Ryan was at the center of it all, pushing everyone to get better.
One of the highlights of Ryan’s senior season was in a season-defining win over Michigan State on Feb. 16, where the Wolverines ended a six-year drought against their in-state rivals. During that game, Ryan scored a career-high 24 points while committing zero turnovers.
But as the curtains close, and Ryan looks back on her last four years, she can’t believe it’s over.
“Just being apart of the University of Michigan and being able to support the ‘block M’ is something that you try to put to words, but you can’t,” Ryan said. “You just look down at your jersey and see what you were given. It was an awesome experience the whole time. I can’t believe its over.”
Ryan, however, isn’t ready to leave just yet.
“A big part of me wants to stay in Ann Arbor,” Ryan said. “I love this place and I don’t want to leave anytime soon. If I stay in basketball it will be in a coaching position.”
Seeing Ryan as a coach doesn’t seem too far off. Both she and senior center Rachel Sheffer were chosen for the “So You Want to be a Coach” program, a workshop held in conjunction with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association National Convention in New Orleans in April.
But before Ryan makes the jump to her next endeavor, she can’t help but look back one last time.
“I know in my senior year I became a better basketball player, and I became a better person,” Ryan said. “I just think that every time you do your last thing as a senior it becomes that more special. It’s something you can look back on and lay your hat on.”
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