“It kind of hit me that it was my career winding down,” Confroy said the week after that Feb. 15 loss. “It wasn’t a pretty game for us, and it’s just like — dang. One more game at home guaranteed. Wow. So much of the season you feel like, ‘I’ve just got to get through this, got to get through this.’ Then, all of a sudden, it’s over! It hit me that game harder than I thought it was going to. It’s been your life for four years.”
Confroy feels a sense of ownership over this season’s team. She will lead No. 2 seed Maryland (23-6) this weekend in Indianapolis as the Terps try to become the first program to win four consecutive Big Ten tournament titles. Their quest begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. against No. 7 seed Indiana.
Leading the team with 32 minutes per game, the guard shoots a Big Ten-best 45.6 percent from three-point range and leads Maryland with 68 three-pointers. At Rutgers on Feb. 11, she joined former Terp Kristi Toliver as the only players in Maryland history with 200 career three-pointers.
The naturally restrained guard also has grown comfortable serving as Maryland’s mouthpiece when needed, as the Purdue loss illustrated. After three years serving as a role player behind former all-Americans Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones, both just a year ahead of her in school, Confroy has found her voice.
“She came in extremely quiet, but she’s been a consistent voice for us both on and off the court,” Frese said. “When you lead by example and have the success that she’s had — six Big Ten championships, having been to a Final Four — she’s earned the right to talk and has the pulse of what needs to be said.”
Confroy had to learn to speak up. When she arrived on campus as a freshman, she figured the best way to make an impact on such a dynamic team would be to watch, listen, find any gaps that existed in Maryland’s game and make them her strength.
“For me, it was three-point shooting and intangibles, the things that might not show up on the stat sheet,” Confroy said. “I thought, ‘Okay, I can make a living doing this.’ . . . It was my job to fill in the blanks.”
The guard was so quiet in practices that Frese eventually turned to her on court her freshman year and said, “Are you going to talk for us today? Are you going to say anything?”
The moment taught Confroy to trust her voice more and that her words hold value to those around her.
Now Confroy not only speaks up on the basketball court, but she’s using her voice to empower athletes at Maryland.
Confroy isn’t headed to the WNBA next; instead, she will enroll in medical school at Wake Forest in hopes of pursuing a career in sports medicine, though her mind is open to other disciplines.
Throughout her career at Maryland, people balked when they heard Confroy was studying pre-med.
“So many people were like, ‘You’re crazy, there’s no way you can do both,’ ” Confroy said, “and I’m like, ‘Watch me.’ ”
Confroy and former Terrapin Malina Howard, who also applied to medical school this year and is deciding where to go, founded a club to help Maryland athletes like themselves, called Maryland Athletics Pre-Health Nerds. The point is to provide peer support — be it help with homework or just a sympathetic ear from another athlete studying organic chemistry — mentorship from former athletes who now work in medicine, and networking.
“The idea behind it is: If you want to do this, you can make it happen; don’t let people tell you that you can’t,” Confroy said. “It’s a difficult road, but it can be done. We’re serving as that voice of encouragement.”
Confroy found both roles — the voice of encouragement and the voice of a team — during her four years in College Park.
“This has taught me the power of my voice and that trusting and having confidence in what I have to say is valuable for everybody else around me,” Confroy said. “Learning that was a monumental thing in my career here and in life in general. You have to be true to who you are and confident in what you believe in and share that with others, and if they don’t agree, they don’t agree. But it’s your duty to at least try.”