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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Mary Sheehan carries on St. Joe’s family tradition

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Mary Sheehan has been involved with St. Joe’s basketball from a young age. PHOTO: LUKE MALANGA ’20/THE HAWK

The Sheehan family has been St. Joe’s basketball season ticket holders since 1990, making a home for themselves in section 204, row 2, seats 1-2. Once junior women’s basketball guard Mary Sheehan was old enough for her own seat in 2000, the family added on seat 3.

Daughter of former Hawk mascot Dennis Sheehan ’85, Mary Sheehan is a self-proclaimed “Hawk for life.” Her first memory of St. Joe’s is the men’s basketball team’s Elite Eight game during the 2003-04 season.

According to Dennis Sheehan, after being recruited by schools throughout the northeast, Mary Sheehan landed back at home: St. Joe’s.

“I started coming to coaches camps when I was four,” Mary Sheehan said. “I was one of the junior Hawks at [Head Coach Cindy Griffin’s] camps. I had a great relationship with coaching staff, and loved how close it is to home.”

The Hawks lost seven players to graduation, so Mary Sheehan will captain a young team as a junior. For Griffin, the choice to have Mary Sheehan lead the squad was “a no-brainer.”

“What we need from her is consistency with shooting the basketball and being our glue kid, keeping everybody together,” Griffin said. “As the leader she is, as our captain, we need her to keep us all together, especially when things get a little bit crazy.”

As a sophomore, Mary Sheehan averaged just over 18 minutes and 3.7 points per game. Living close by as a Drexel Hill native, she said she spent much of her time over the summer in the St. Joe’s weight room.

“For me personally, strength is the biggest thing,” Mary Sheehan said. “I usually have the speed, but I’m a little bit frailer than everybody else. I’m known as more of a shooter, so to be able to get down the lane, get fouled and get points that way has been a big thing for me.”

Dennis Sheehan said he and his family are filled with “great pride” when they see Mary leading her teammates by example on the court.

“She’s not always going to be the leading scorer or the leading rebounder, but we always know we’ll get 100% from Mary,” Dennis Sheehan said. “That’s what being a Hawk is all about: giving 100% every time.”

Mary Sheehan graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School in 2017, the alma mater of St. Joe’s alum and recent WNBA champion Natasha Cloud ’15 of the Washington Mystics.

When Mary Sheehan was being recruited at St. Joe’s, she said she heard from Cloud often. Griffin said she sees parallels in their games.

“Both are hard-working kids, and both are great communicators,” said Griffin of Sheehan and Cloud. “You know they want to win, and I think that’s from those [Cardinal] O’Hara wins. I think they brought that winning mentality with them.”

A winning mentality will be critical for the Hawks moving forward, as the team was picked to finish 10th out of 14 teams in the Atlantic 10 coaches poll. Mary Sheehan sees the positives in her young team’s low ranking going into the season opener Nov. 7 at Columbia University.

“I think that’s great, because expectation-wise, there’s not that much pressure and we know what we have in this gym that other people don’t,” Mary Sheehan said. “And that just gives us an extra chip on our shoulder to prove everybody wrong.”

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