By Sam Belden
Fordham’s senior guard Hannah Missry is one of the most experienced players in the Atlantic 10. Through Tuesday’s game at Davidson, the New Jersey native has started 117 games for head coach Stephanie Gaitley and holds the school record for three-point field goals with a whopping 296. Missry is also an academic star — she finished her B.A. in Communication & Media Studies in just three years and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Media Management.
After one conference title, 1096 points and 3641 minutes played as a Fordham Ram, Missry has just a few weeks remaining in her collegiate career. This week, she sat down with The Fordham Ram to talk basketball, academics and life after Fordham.
The Fordham Ram: Tell me a bit about your recruiting process. What ultimately made you choose Fordham?
Hannah Missry: It was a while ago! I was a junior in high school at the time. Coach Gaitley was originally at Monmouth University, and she was recruiting me there. I’m from Jersey, and [the idea] was just very attractive, playing at Monmouth. It’s a beautiful school. Then she ended up leaving and came here, but she didn’t recruit me right away, so I kept my options open. Once she offered me in March of my junior year, I committed right on the spot. The first time I visited Fordham, I knew I wanted to go here — it’s just so beautiful. And I loved Coach, obviously, and I’m close to home.
TFR: Since that time, how has your experience been transitioning into one of the team leaders?
HM: It was tough. Just coming in as a freshman and starting, I have a lot of experience. I can look back to our A-10 Championship from freshman year and draw on that. Just having that experience definitely helped [my leadership skills].
TFR: You’ve started for Coach Gaitley for four years now. What changes to the program have you seen during that time?
HM: There’s been a lot of changes, whether it be different types of players, different coaches. We’ve changed our style of play a couple of times — we were more guard-oriented my freshman year and last year we were more post player-oriented. So there have been a lot of changes, but it was still a lot of fun.
TFR: What has been the most unexpected thing about your senior season?
HM: Coming into the year, we had one post player. It was a lot of, what’s going to happen? How are we going to play these teams that have multiple 6’5” post players? But we adjusted and have played really well. We have a lot of rebounders. [Forward] G’mrice [Davis] has obviously taken over that role, but we’ve all had to step in and do things to make up for our lack of post players, so it’s been interesting to see how successful we’ve been.
TFR: The team is doing well this year, but has been streaky — you lost four straight games at one point. Now that you’ve won a few in a row, how are you feeling as we head down the stretch?
HM: I feel better than I did [before] now that we got those losses out of the way. We went on a 6-0 run [to start conference play] and we got very confident and almost complacent in a way. But then, once we lost four in a row, we had to reset. I think that we learned from it and we’re really starting to grow. We needed it. As bad as it sounds, we needed something to help push us forward.
TFR: You hold the school record for most three-point field goals and are second in free throw percentage. What’s your shooting secret?
HM: Shoot a lot. Coach always tells me, “Just keep shooting!” and I listen to her. I have the green light. As for foul shooting, it’s all mental. It’s the easiest thing you can do, you just have to believe it’s going to go in. It’s always been the strongest part of my game. In high school, I used to drive to the basket a lot because I was a lot bigger than a lot of girls, but now I’m probably one of the smallest girls out there. It’s better behind the three-point line — I don’t go inside. [Laughs.]
TFR: You went to the NCAA Tournament when you were a freshman. Describe what that experience was like.
HM: It was so much fun. It was my freshman year, so I didn’t really get a chance to really savor it — I was like, “We’re gonna go every year!” But it was so fun to go to the tournament, because that’s what everyone’s goal is. That’s why you play college basketball. It was such a cool experience to play at Baylor, to see all the different teams and how they treated us. It was a lot of fun.
TFR: I know you got your B.A. in just three years. Tell me a little about your academic experience at Fordham.
HM: Coming in, I had to take two summer classes, so I was already kind of ahead. In the back of my mind, I was doubling up on credits, doubling up on classes, and I was like, “I’m going to have an easy senior year! I’m going to take all my hard classes, get them out of the way!” [Laughs]. But then, last spring I go to register and my academic advisor told me that I need seven classes to graduate [early] and asked me if I want to do it. I said, “Absolutely,” and it was a challenge — it was tough. I took five classes a semester, maximum credit hours. But it was so worth it. I worked really hard, and basketball taught me time management, so one went with the other.
TFR: Other than basketball, what’s been your favorite part of Fordham?
HM: I’ve [made] so manyfriends that I’m going to keep forever. I actually don’t live with anyone on my team, I live with softball players and other athletes. I think it’s a great balance, because my teammates live right down the hall and I hang out with them all the time. It’s been such a good experience.
TFR: As of right now, what are your plans for life after basketball? Have you thought about coaching at all?
HM: My [degree] program ends in August. Right now, my goal is looking for internships in the city. I would love to stay in the sports world. I’ve reached out to Madison Square Garden and am hoping to see if I can work for a team one day, hopefully in the communications or marketing department. But as for coaching — not really. I don’t think I could handle that. [Laughs].