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O'Leary transfers to Bradley

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JOHN N. BARRY
July 7, 2010
— Bradley University women’s basketball coach Paula Buscher kept close tabs on Catie O’Leary during her illustrious career at Janesville Parker High School.

Buscher was so impressed with O’Leary and her scoring prowess that Bradley was the first school to offer her a Division I scholarship.


O’Leary had Bradley high on her list but eventually signed with Loyola University of Chicago. After the Loyola coach abruptly quit, O’Leary signed to play with the University of Wisconsin, her dream destination since she was a little girl.


The Wisconsin experience didn’t pan out as O’Leary played in only five games as a freshman, but the basketball future for the two-time all-state selection is suddenly much brighter.


O’Leary has officially transferred to Bradley University, a Division I school in Peoria, Ill. The 5-foot-10 guard will be eligible to play in the 2011-12 season and will have three years of eligibility remaining.


“I made the decision pretty much as soon as school got out,” O’Leary said of the transfer. “It will be tough mentally not being able to play my first year there, but that will also give me a chance to focus on my academics and work on improving my game.”


O’Leary said she leaves Wisconsin with mixed feelings.


“I loved my teammates and the city of Madison,” O’Leary said. “The coaches at Wisconsin were honest with me, and I left on good terms.


“I just think the fact that I came in as a late recruit hurt me, and I never really felt like I got the respect I deserved as a player.”


O’Leary led the state in scoring her junior year at Parker with a 19.4-point and was second as a senior at 20.9.


A logjam at two-three guard spot at Wisconsin limited O’Leary’s minutes this past season, and there was no guarantee from coach Lisa Stone and the UW staff that her minutes would increase next season.


“I know I can play at the Big Ten level, but I just felt like I was never going to get that opportunity if I stayed at Wisconsin,” O’Leary said. “Now, I can work hard on improving, and hopefully, go out and show people I can still play.”


O’Leary thought briefly about giving up basketball and staying at Wisconsin to continue her studies, but the urge to compete was too great. And the Bradley staff is eager to give her that chance.


“Catie is a pure shooter,” Buscher said. “She can spread teams out with her long-range shooting and was one of our top recruiting targets out of high school. We are looking forward to having her be a part of our team for the next four years.”


Bradley finished 17-14 last season and advanced to the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.


O’Leary joins two other Wisconsin players as part of the 2010-11 recruiting class at Bradley. Kelly Frings of Milwaukee Pius and Kelsey Budd of Sauk Prairie will play for the Braves, along with 6-3 center Alyson Spinas-Valainis of Davenport, Iowa.



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