IT was a cold day as the Singleton’s SuperValu American Treyanna Clay stepped into the foyer of the Mardyke UCC Arena getting ready to work out for Sunday’s Hula Hoops Paudie O’Connor National Cup final against Pyrobel Killester.
Clay, the hero for Brunell in their sensational National cup semi- final win over raging championship favourites DCU Mercy, is hoping her team will be ready for battle come final day.
The likeable 22-year-old American was only too willing to share her basketball experience.
“I was born in Tucson, Arizona and I began playing basketball as an eight-year-old where my dad was coach of a travelling team and I also played with a club side in Phoenix, Arizona,” she said.
When Treyanna played club basketball she was recruited to play with Iona College in division one, an experience she didn’t enjoy.
“To be honest, I wasn’t happy with the programme as in my three years it declined on an annual basis and I felt although dropping down a division all I wanted was to get a buzz from the sport again,” added Clay.
A move to Eastern New Mexico University was just the tonic that Treyanna needed.
“The college was in a small town but the people and the school were incredible and it was a year I will never forget.”
The American system is a little different when it comes to graduating.
“When I transferred some of my credits didn’t come with me so I will not be graduating until next May as I am currently taking classes online.”
Treyanna simply loves basketball but only got the call from Brunell back in October.
“I started with an agent who simply wasn’t doing his job as I seemed to be disregarded and then when I changed him the opportunity to play in Ireland came about and I am really pleased.”
When you have never been to Europe it can be a big move for any young lady but the Brunell star was pleasantly surprised when she arrived on Leeside.
“I think Cork is a beautiful city but never in my wildest dreams did I realise it was possible to witness so much rain. The green is beautiful but I actually hate the rain as I come from a very warm climate near a desert so you can imagine this rain is all new to me.”
Settling into her new surroundings was easy according to Treyanna.
“The people are great and everybody at the club has made me feel so welcome and I would like to repay them by helping win this championship.”
The league table doesn’t make good reading for Clay as she reflected on the poor campaign.
“We don’t look at the table because as a team our goal during the tough times was to improve with every game and try to cut out the errors that were being exposed by opposing teams.”
In defeating DCU Mercy Clay indicated a serious change in how they structured their defence.
“We definitely had more energy as we had Laura Morrissey and Alex Macheta coming off the bench and doing a great job and to win the final against Killester we will have to repeat that performance.”
The Arizona native was surprised with the high standard of Americans, Europeans and Irish players in the league.
“It’s a good league, as every game is tough and the physicality stakes are usually high, so come game time you got to be ready to mix it.”
Treyanna is joined by another professional in Lithuanian Greta Tamasanskaite and victory scholar American Aryn McClure and the trio all get on wellt.
“You have to respect all your teammates on and off court and my opinion is simple I am here to do a job for Brunell and I will always conduct myself in a professional manner.”
Looking ahead to their final clash against Killester, she is adamant they will be ready for battle.
“I honestly believe we will defeat them as we match up to them well but when you are involved in a game of this magnitude you got to be tuned in from start to finish and that’s what I will be instilling into my teammates.”
Killester played superb basketball to defeat UCC Glanmire in the semi-final and their American duo of Adella Randle El and Christa Reed are also a formidable duo.
“They are good players and will give them the respect they deserve but championships are not won by one individual as basketball is a team game and that’s why our Irish players contributions will be crucial in this final.”
In the words of Clay the cauldron of capacity crowd in the National Basketball Arena is just what the doctor ordered for her. “I love playing in front of a capacity attendance as showcasing myself is something that spurs me on and although I have never been to the National Basketball Arena I am told it’s a great experience and hopefully a winning one.”
The Brunell faithful are well known in this country for the manner they support their team in the capital and Treyanna is confident the journey will be worthwhile.
“It’s not going to be easily achieved as I am told Killester haven’t won the title for many years so they will be very much up for this final but if we stick to our game plan and have belief there is absolutely no reason why we cannot succeed.”