Enter May

by Matt Levin

Katie May set the bar high in her inaugural season for Northeastern women’s basketball. 

The freshman guard from Rydal, Pennsylvania, started 28 out of the 29 games she played in this season, averaging 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds. Her stability within the rotation helped the Huskies reach the 20-win plateau for the first time since May herself was born.

She was born into a basketball family; her mom, aunt and uncle all played in college. They made sure to put a basketball into May’s hands as soon as possible, and by the time she was seven she fell irrevocably in love with the game. 

However when May entered high school, it became apparent that basketball was becoming more than just a hobby. May played at Archbishop Wood High School with her sister and two cousins. Her taste for the big stage began there, as May led her team to two state championship victories in her four years. 

The high school culture “taught a lot about winning,” she said. “It made my game so much better. It also made the game serious to me, not just fun.”

May came into Northeastern at the perfect time. Claudia Ortiz, one of Northeastern’s starting guards over the last three seasons, graduated, meaning the team had an opening in the starting lineup. Coaches were looking for someone to step up in summer practices and take the reins. 

“As soon as [May] stepped on the court, it felt natural. She is a kid that gets it. I don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining stuff to her,” said senior forward Gabby Giacone. “She is a naturally born leader, sees the floor well, is a great listener and communicates really well, especially as a freshman being able to come in and take direction.” 

In the Huskies’ first conference game of the season against Elon on Jan. 4, May scored 18 points and corralled 10 rebounds. Not only did she have her first double-double, but she was a perfect 5-5 on three pointers. It was a sign of things to come for May, who ended the season shooting a robust 38 percent from beyond the arc, good for third on the team. 

“I was in the zone, knocking down the shots that were there,” May said. “It gave me a lot of confidence going into conference play.”

May has noticed many improvements to her game throughout the season.  

“I’ve become more of an offensive threat than in the beginning of the season and I’ve been able to spread the floor for other people because of my shooting,” May said.

Through shooting she found confidence, whereas when she first arrived on campus, she “came in just thinking about defense and not screwing up.”  

Next year, Northeastern will sustain more losses to their offense, as two of their three top scorers from this season, Jess Genco and Gabby Giacone, are graduating. To make up for the loss of scorers, May looks to improve her “ball handling and becoming more productive and quicker on the offensive end of the floor.” 

Despite her age, Giacone believes May has the intangibles to step up and command a leadership position in the locker room. 

“Upperclassman look up to her. She is going to have a bigger and bigger role at Northeastern and is going to be a go-to person for next season,” she said.

Even though she prepares to enter just her second season as a Husky, May always keeps an eye on the future. She would welcome any opportunity post-graduation to play basketball overseas, or perhaps even transition into coaching. However, May didn’t choose Northeastern solely for its basketball program. Her academic interests lie in marketing, with dreams of working in print media or fashion.

In the meantime, there’s work to be done on Huntington Avenue as May helps usher in a new tradition of winning for women’s basketball.