By Scott Eddy, Director of Athletics Communications
If you walked past the Reilly Center court at any time during this past summer, there's a good chance you would have seen sophomore guard Danielle Migliore putting up shots and working on her game.
After a disappointing first season in Brown and White, Migliore entered the summer determined to improve and to make herself into the type of player who could play an important role in the Bonnies' future plans.
Day after day, hour after hour, Migliore worked tirelessly with coaches, support staff and teammates.
She put in so much work in the summer the staff actually had to shut her down for a time due to shoulder fatigue from firing up so many shots.
"I wasn't happy where I was, but I knew that if I worked at it I could make an impact this year," Migliore said. "I knew I had to give it all I had in the summer. I felt like I let my team down (last year). I was working every day with lifting and conditioning, getting extra shots up, listening to the coaches on what I needed to fix. I was in the gym all the time working on my form and mechanics."
It was the type of summer that left St. Bonaventure head coach Jesse Fleming stating that her offseason work ethic had just one equal from his decade-plus involved in the program – Bonnies and Atlantic 10 all-time 3-point leader Jessica Jenkins.
High praise for the Frankfort, N.Y. native.
The story could have easily been different after Migliore averaged just 1.7 points per game and 8.1 minutes per contest a year ago, not playing in nine games due to coach's decision.
"I wasn't used to not starting and not playing a ton of minutes. I came in not knowing the defense and the offense and had trouble getting it wrapped around my head," said Migliore, who averaged over 30 points per game as a high school senior and graduated with over 2,000 career points on the way to being named First Team All-State in New York Class C. "It was all confidence for me. When I wasn't playing, my confidence level lowered and that really hurt my game."
This season, it has been a different story.
Migliore has been one of the Atlantic 10's most improved players during her sophomore campaign, averaging double figure scoring for the entire season while adding nearly six rebounds per game and playing nearly 32 minutes per contest. She started the first 22 games of the year and has shot nearly 39 percent from the floor and 32 percent from long range, ranking in the A-10's top half dozen in 3s for the season.
"I had goals about playing more and giving everything I had – and to stop worrying about doing something wrong," she says about her offseason.
When she wasn't working in the gym or the weight room, Migliore was focused on the mental aspect of improving her game as well, spending the summer reading a book given to her by Coach Fleming called "Mind Gym: An Athlete's Guide To Inner Excellence."
"My main thing was mental confidence. I would get down on myself a lot," she said. "Last year I was nervous to do anything, I felt I didn't understand as well as everyone else. Now, I'm a lot more confident and know what I can do."
The change was obvious from the very first game of the season. Inserted into the starting lineup for the first time in her collegiate career, Migliore keyed a Bonnies opening night victory vs. Niagara with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor. She had more than half of her entire freshman season scoring output in just one night.
"I thought I was going to get the call to be in the starting lineup, but you never know for sure," she remembers. "I felt nervous, but (senior teammate Mariah Ruff) just told me to shoot the ball, play your game and don't worry about it. After that I was more confident."
That was just the first of 13 games so far of double-figure scoring including three games of 20 points or more. As of the end of January, Migliore's jump in points per game from one year to the next ranked second among all returning Atlantic 10 players.
It's been the type of season that has Migliore and the rest of the Bonnies excited for what's to come.
"I want to keep getting better. I've never felt like my work has paid off yet," she said. "There's still a lot more to do. Hopefully all my hard work in the summer did pay off. But it has taught me a lot about myself. It boosted my confidence level a lot and showed me what I can do when facing adversity."
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